The Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, CON, has tasked the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), to focus on projects and programmes that will enhance the development of the people in the Niger Delta region.
The Minister gave the task in a meeting with the Directors of the NDDC, led by Dr. (Mrs.) Akwagaga Enyia, in Abuja on Wednesday, September 4, 2019.
He said that NDDC had not lived to its responsibilities in the development of the region and urged them to redirect their focus on the people by creating job opportunities, infrastructural development and strive to move the region to the next level, adding that there had been complaints all over about the Commission.
The Minister stressed the need to have a sober reflection to refocus NDDC, emphasing that a forensic analysis and audit will be carried out soon.
Akpabio, therefore charged the Commission to collaborate with its financial agencies to move the region forward, promising that the Ministry will work with the Commission to ensure development in the Niger Delta region.
He also added that Mr. President looks forward to commissioning projects in the region, hoping that in the next four years, legacies would be left behind for the people of Niger Delta region.
The Minister promised to focus on issues that will reduce capital flight in the region by addressing the health and employment needs of the people. He also pledged his commitment to address environmental issues and make the region an industrial cluster.
Senator Apkabio said that the budgeting procedure of NDDC is going to be redirected to aim at ongoing projects which is almost ready for completion but were left behind for lack of human will and proper coordination. He expressed his displeasure on the number of uncompleted projects in the Niger Delta region.
In his words, “We are going to focus on key projects that are on ground, between now and the year 2020 and also start things that can create employment opportunities, small and medium scale enterprises for the youths”. On post amnesty, “we want every child to be gainfully employed otherwise we will be sitting on a time bomb”, he added.
The Senator lamented that developmental projects were politically motivated and were not done for sustainable development. He promised to change the modus operandi by leaving all those politically motivated projects and go into legacy projects.
He commended, President Muhammedu Buhari for putting the East-West road under Special Infrastructure Fund outside the budget adding that “moving the country to the next level means that we will not like to leave behind any uncompleted project we would show that clearly this a period for legacy project.”
In his remarks, the Minister of State, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, said the purpose of the meeting was to meet with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as the supervising Ministry to discuss issues in the front burner and to redefine the vision of the Commission that has been lost overtime.
Mr. Festus Keyamo noted that their appointment as the Ministers of the Ministry was not a coincidence but a deliberate plan by the President to appoint sons of the soil to develop their region. We were appointed to get the vision right, in his words “It may not be business as usual but business unusual.”
Earlier, the Permanent secretary of the Ministry, Mrs. Didi Walson-Jack, mni, welcomed the Management Team of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to the Ministry. She explained that it is the mandate of the Ministry to initiate, coordinate, manage and promote development polices and processes in the Niger Delta region.
Walson-Jack said that the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs will set the agenda of moving the region forward, chart new ways of working together and by that improve institutional capabilities and performance management to deliver real impact adding that the Ministry will work to uphold excellence and the good reputation of the public service as well as always promote the principles of good governance.
The Permanent Secretary also said she has no doubt that under the visionary leadership of the agent of uncommon transformation. His Excellency, Senator (Dr.) Godswill Obot Akpabio and his dependable ally, Festus Keyamo, SAN, they will meet the aspirations of the people of the Niger Delta region for peace, development and progress.
In her remarks, the overseeing Director NDDC, Dr. (Mrs.) Akwagaga Enyia, promised to work with the Minister to achieve the vision and mission of the commission to address the developmental challenges of the Niger Delta region. She pledged total commitment of the Niger Delta Development Commission to help redirect and reposition the commission so that the region will be in good shape.
Mrs. Akwagaga assured the Minister that they are ready to cooperate with the Ministers and the Ministry to move the region forward.
Head (Press and Public Relation),
September 4th, 2019.