FG is Repositioning NDDC, Amnesty Programme – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari says that the Federal Government is repositioning the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, and the Amnesty Programme to ensure that they deliver on their mandates to develop the Niger Delta region.
President Buhari stated this yesterday while declaring open the fourth Meeting of the National Council on Niger Delta at the Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt.
President, who was represented by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator
Godswill Akpabio, observed that the Niger Delta region had suffered so much
deprivation and thus needed a new deal.
declared: “We are committed to changing the fortunes of the region to give the
people a new lease of life,” stating that the government was addressing the challenges
of under-development and insecurity in the region.
Buhari said that the on-going forensic audit of the NDDC was expected to
reposition the Commission and galvanize it towards optimal development and
provide the needed infrastructure for socio-economic development that the
region so much requires.
said further: “Due to the efforts and commitment of the Minister of Niger Delta
Affairs, the new headquarters building of the NDDC, which had been on-going in
the last 24 years, has been completed and is awaiting commissioning by my
the status of the East-West Road, Mr President said: “The completion of the
East-West Road, which is a priority to this government, has been handed over to
the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and I assure you that it will be delivered
by the end of 2021 or the early part of 2022.”
his own remarks, Senator Akpabio harped on the need for harmony between the
NDDC and the state governments in the Niger Delta region for the benefit of the
people. According to him, the disharmony between these critical stakeholders
was caused by many factors, including political differences.
advised: “Development should not be tied to any political party because what
the people need is development, irrespective of political affiliation. Poverty
and hunger have no political party.”
agreed that the funds coming to the Niger Delta region were not commensurate
with the level of projects on the ground, but stated that governments in the
region should be held accountable for the 13 per cent oil-derivation meant to
develop the oil-producing communities.
advised those blaming the NDDC for all the woes of the region to look inwards
and tell themselves the hone truth, adding: “When stakeholders reach out to the
NDDC for intervention projects and the Commission intervenes, that is not
duplication of projects. State government should ensure that the 13 per cent
allocation touches the lives of the people.”
described the NDDC as an organization where everybody contributes while it
belonged to nobody, noting that there should be synergy between the Federal and
the state governments.
said: “If we ask why the NDDC has failed, then we have to look back. That is
why President Buhari, came up with the forensic audit to salvage the Commission
and I think he should be commended for that. We have to know what went wrong.”
Earlier in his address, the Rivers State Governor,
Chief Nyesom Wike, lamented that although the Niger Delta region was blessed
with mineral resources, its people were living in poverty and underdevelopment.
Wike, who was represented by his deputy, Dr. (Mrs) Ipalibo Harry Banigo, said that the
National Council on Niger Delta should serve as a platform for the people of
the region to articulate their needs and challenges.
He added: “With political will, we can overcome the
challenges confronting the region, while we continue the struggle for the
enthronement of true federalism in the country.”
The governor regretted the lack of collaboration
between the NDDC and state governments in the region, calling on the Commission
to work in concert with the state governments to ensure the greatest impact of
projects and programmes for the people.
Charles Obi Odili
December 18, 2020.