The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs was created on September 10, 2008 by His Excellency, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to formulate and coordinate policies for the development and security of the Niger Delta Region comprising of the following states:
Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers. Actual operation commenced in February, 2009, after the appointment of two Honourable Ministers and the posting of a Permanent Secretary with complement of a few Senior Staff.
The establishment of a Ministry to handle the development of the Niger Delta Region is another attempt by the Government to solve the development issues and challenges, including the perceived sense of exclusion, environmental degradation, poverty, and unemployment in the Region.
Prior to the creation of the Ministry, Government had taken many intervention measures, such as the establishment of Niger Delta Development Board of 1960, the Presidential Task Force on 1.5% Derivation which was set up between 1979 and 1983, the Oil Minerals Areas Producing Development Commission (OMPADEC) of 1992 and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) which was created in 2000 by an Act of Parliament. Unfortunately, these Agencies could not fully deliver the expected results, hence the establishment of the Ministry as a coordinating vehicle to drive the development process of the Region.
The mandate of the Ministry is to formulate and execute plans, programmes and other initiatives aimed at fast-tracking the development of the Niger Delta Region. In addition, the Ministry is coordinating the activities of Government Agencies, Communities in the Area, International Development Partners (through the National Planning Commission), Donor Agencies and other relevant stakeholders involved in the development of the Region.
The functions of the Ministry are to:
- Oversee the implementation of Government policies on the development and security of the Niger Delta Region;
- Coordinate the formulation of the Development Plan for the Region;
- Formulate policies and programmes for youth mobilization and empowerment in the Niger Delta Region;
- Advise Government on security issues concerning the Region;
- Liaise with relevant Government, Non-Government and private organizations;
- Formulate and coordinate policies for environmental management in the Region;
- Liaise with host communities for the enhancement of the welfare of the people and the development of the Region;
- Facilitate private sector involvement in the development of the Region;
- Plan and supervise public education/ enlightenment programmes;
- Liaise with oil companies operating in the Region to ensure environmental protection and pollution control;
- Organise human capacity development as well as skills acquisition programmes for youths and women; and
- Take adequate measures to ensure peace, stability and security with a view to enhancing the economic potentials of the Region.