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NDDC: Meeting the demands of the Niger Delta people

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NDDC: Meeting the demands of the Niger Delta people

NDDC: Responding to the demands of the populations of the Niger Delta

News analysis by Emmanuel Mogbede, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC ) was established in 2000 by the federal government to develop the oil-rich Niger Delta region.

Home to the Niger Delta Ministry, one of the Commission’s main mandates is to train and educate young people in the oil-rich regions of the Niger Delta to combat hostilities and militancy, while developing key infrastructure to promote diversification and productivity.

The other mandates include:
1. Formulation of policies and guidelines for the development of the Niger Delta area.

Design, planning and implementation, in accordance with established rules and regulations, of sustainable development projects and programs in the Niger Delta area in the field of transport, including roads, jetties and waterways, health, employment, industrialization, agriculture and fisheries, housing and urban development, water supply, electricity and telecommunications.

Survey the Niger Delta to determine the measures necessary to promote its physical and socio-economic development.

Prepare master plans and blueprints intended to promote the physical development of the Niger Delta region and the estimation of the Member States of the Commission.

Implementation of all measures approved for the development of the Niger Delta region by the Federal Government and the States of the Commission.

Identify the factors that hinder the development of the Niger Delta region and assist Member States in the formulation and implementation of policies to ensure sound and efficient management of the resources of the Niger Delta region.

Evaluate and report on any project funded or carried out in the region by oil and gas companies and any other company, including non-governmental organizations, and ensure that funds released for such projects are properly used.

Tackle ecological and environmental issues arising from exploration for petroleum minerals in the Niger Delta region and advise the federal government and member states on the prevention and control of oil spills, gas flaring and the pollution of the environment.

Liaise with the various oil, mineral and gas exploration and production companies on all matters of pollution, prevention and control.

Carry out these other works and fulfill these other functions, which, at the choice of the Commission, are necessary for the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region and its inhabitants.

The position of executive chairman of NDDC has been the subject of much debate. A compromise was reached where the position would be turned within the nine oil-producing states in alphabetical order: Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers.

But the council has not been constituted since January 2020, when the previous council was dissolved to allow for a forensic investigation.

On June 10, the House of Representatives called on President Muhammadu Buhari to form the board of directors of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Lawmakers urged the government to comply with Articles 4 and 12 (1) of the NDDC Act, appointing the Chairman of the Delta State Commission, the Director General of Ondo State and the Executive Director of Edo State Finance and Administration.

After debate, the House decided the following: To urge the federal government to comply with the provisions of section 4 of the NDDC Act of 2000 by considering the Delta State which is next in alphabetical order for the position of chairman of the board of directors.

To urge the federal government to comply with the provision of Article 12 (1) of the NDDC Act by considering the states of Ondo, Edo and Imo for the positions of Director General, Executive Director of finance and administration and executive director of council projects respectively.

The first candidate presented by stakeholders from Delta State is Dr Cairo Ojougboh, who is the former Executive Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) project. He is originally from Ika in the south of Delta and is a qualified medical practitioner and former member of the House of Representatives.

He graduated from the University of Benin with a Bachelor of Medicine (MBBS) in 1985 and contested the election of Governor of Delta in 2019.

He was Presidential Liaison Officer at the National Assembly (NASS) and Special Assistant to the President at NASS between 2007 and 2011.

He has also served as Chairman of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) and Presidential Spokesman APC, Presidential Campaign Council Delta.

Ojougboh, as the executive director of the NDDC project, initiated the pre-payment project verification, which angered fraudulent contractors and some energy brokers in the region.

Most of the Delta stakeholders who spoke to the Nigeria News Agency (NAN) believed Ojougboh was the best man for the position of NDDC board chairman.

His preference, according to them, is due to his sensible attitude and his ability and ability to run the commission for good for the entire population of the Niger Delta.

A member of the Senate leadership, who prefers to remain anonymous, however, said the Senate would consider any presidential candidate on their merit.

The source recalled that Ojougboh’s name had previously been presented by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs at a stakeholder meeting as the preferred choice for the post.

This, the source said, was applauded as there was no dissenting voice.

The second candidate presented is Bernard Okumagba who is considered a purebred technocrat and administrator. He is from the Warri South Local Government Area of ​​the Delta South Senate District of Delta State.

He was Delta State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget from August 2007 to November 2010, then was appointed Finance Commissioner and held this position from November 2010 to May 2011.

Okumagba is an All Progressives Congress leader from the Warri South Local Government Area in Delta State.

The appointment of one of these two people from Delta State would serve as a swift proactive measure to deal with the various unrest and curb the unlikely unrest that could arise from the lack of NDDC board members.

As former statesman Edwin Clark told the Nigerian News Agency, both candidates must be appropriately selected and all considerations must be taken to give an acceptable candidate to the people.

“Both people involved are from my state and are my children, but all I’m interested in is that a board of directors is being inaugurated for the commission.

Clark said the inauguration of a new board of directors for the commission was essential to enable it to fulfill its mandate to have a positive impact on the lives of people in the area.

Speaking about the commission’s forensic audit initiated by Ojougboh to verify projects before payments are made, Clark expressed hope that a new board of directors would provide a more acceptable audit.

He noted that the forensic audit which was not well received by fraudulent contractors and some state energy brokers had swallowed up so much money.

If used, please credit the writer and the Nigerian News Agency (NAN)

(NAN)

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