Iniobong Ekponta, Uyo
The need to strengthen the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) with more funds to enable it fulfill its mandate of developing infrastructure in the Niger Delta has been stressed.
The Network Advancement Program and Disaster Risks Reductions (NAPPDRR), an international Non Governmental Organization (NGO) committed to intervening to douse tension in the region, said their worry stem from “frequent militants’ activities that has the potentials of threatening the corporate existence of Nigeria”.
Speaking yesterday in an interview in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, the President of the group, Hon. Al Mustapher Emem Edoho, underscored the importance of continuous development of Niger Delta as a way of achieving sustainable peace in the area.
“Years of destruction of oil and infrastructure in the region by militants has cost the Federal Government billions of Dollars in oil revenues just because we play politics in even issues that touch our very existence as a people under one nation”, Edoho noted.
“The answer lies in strengthening the development agencies and building capacities”, he added, pointing out that more funding should be approved for the NDDC for accelerated development of the region.
Besides, the group made a case for the implementation of Acting President Yemi Osinbajo’s Executive Order, directing the International Oil Companies (IOCs), when he visited the region recently, to relocate to their operational bases in Niger Delta.
“If the Federal Government is not playing politics with developmental issues of Niger Delta, we think the NDDC should be properly funded and the IOCs impressed upon to relocate to the region for equity, justice and fair play”, he stressed.
The NDDC under the current leadership of Obong Nsima Ekere, as the Managing Director and Senator Victor Ndoma Egba, as the Chairman, the group called for “speedy interventionist programs in rural roads”, saying “with more funding, the pace of development will greatly expanded”.
Noting that the NDDC has recently remobilized contractors to address all uncompleted projects and donated a 500 KVA generator to ease electricity issues at the Ibom International Hospital, the group tasked the Commission to also empower jobless and idle youths “to stabilize the region for a violent-free oil and gas exploration and exploitation in the region”.
The group also condemned the recent coup rumor and expressed worry over threat such dissenting voices pose to the corporate existence of Nigeria and urged relevant authorities to investigate with a view to nipping such uncomplimentary stance in the bud.
“Coup anywhere in the world is an aberration, we should have the patience to wait for the Federal Government’s policies and programmes to develop and yield the dividends of democracy to Nigerians”, Edoho said and urged the Federal Government to speedily sign the Appropriation Bill into law.
“If everything concerning the budget is completed, funds will be released into various sectors for the people to feel the direct impact of government”, he stressed.
While wishing ailing President Muhammadu Buhari, speedy recovery, Edoho appealed to desperate Nigerians to eschew any untoward behaviors and support the Federal Government’s drive to reposition the country.