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NDDC needs new Master Plan for Niger Delta Development - Akpabio

The Honourable Minister, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, CON, says that the ministry is committed to harmonizing the Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan with the Niger Delta Action Plan to produce one regional road map for development in Nigeria’s oil-rich region.

Akpabio, who spoke at the new Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Permanent Headquarters at the Eastern By-Pass, Port Harcourt as part of the activities during his working visit to the Niger Delta, harped on the need for collaboration and synergy in the effort to develop the Niger Delta region.

The Minister and his entourage, which included the Permanent Secretary of his ministry, Dr Babayo Ardo, inspected the high-rise office complex and remarked that the building tells a positive story for the NDDC.

The visiting team was received by the NDDC Acting Managing Director, Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei, in the company of the Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Mr. Effiong Akwa, a member of the Interim Management Committee, IMC, Mrs. Caroline Nagbo and directors of the Commission.

The Minister regretted that the NDDC had not lived up to expectations, noting: “Whether we like it or not, this child (NDDC) has not grown well in 19 years. It could have done better. Perhaps, we lost track of the developmental plan of the Niger Delta region.”

He, however, congratulated the NDDC Acting Managing Director and members of the IMC for doing a good job in delivering the new office complex, which he described as “a good story for the NDDC.”

He said further: “The most thrilling thing for me is that change has come to the NDDC. I must commend the management and staff of the NDDC for making this possible. Despite the criticisms and distractions, some positive change has taken place in the Commission and I like to see progress because I am a development-oriented politician.”

Akpabio said that Prof Pondei should be proud to be the first Chief Executive Officer of the NDDC to move into a new edifice. “The feat could not have been achieved without the cooperation of members of the IMC and the Ministry of the Niger Delta Affairs,” he said.

Akpabio remarked: “The completion of the new NDDC headquarters is a positive story for Nigeria, especially when you consider that the project has taken over 24 years to get to this point.

“It is to the glory of President Buhari that we are sitting in the new headquarters today. This is a legacy project which the IMC will be remembered for.”

The Minister said that with the inauguration of the NDDC Advisory Council by Mr President, the Commission would work closely with the governors so that there would be synergy and the problem of duplication of projects would be addressed.

Akpabio noted that President Buhari inaugurated the NDDC Advisory Committee, comprising the nine governors of the Niger Delta Region and the Ministers of Niger Delta Affairs and Environment in line with the provisions of the NDDC Establishment Act.

He declared: “I want a positive image for the NDDC. Therefore, we must collaborate with the National Assembly to change the situation. If there is need to rejig the law, we will encourage the lawmakers to do that, particularly in the area of budgeting. We must budget for more regional projects that will impact lives of the people. We must budget to bring industrial development, as well as bring about capacity building in the region.”

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Babayo Ardo, in his remarks, noted that the site inspection embarked by the Minister is to appraise the progress of work done and also to give appropriate attention to areas where the Ministry with other development partners would intervene to ensure that the project is completed for the benefit of the people in the region.

Dr. Ardo said that, NDDC is being repositioned and refocused on the mandate of the Ministry with the Support of President Muhammadu Buhari for effective service delivery. Therefore, it is important to synergise the master plan and actions with all development partners.

Speaking earlier, the NDDC Chief Executive Officer said that the new headquarters would add value to the work of the NDDC towards meeting its mandate of facilitating the rapid development of the Niger Delta region.

He stated: “It is part of the mandate of the IMC to reposition the NDDC and make sure that the mistakes of the past are corrected and ensure that going forward, NDDC will work towards realizing its mandate of fast-tracking development in the Niger Delta region.

In his own remarks, the NDDC Director of Project Monitoring and Supervision, Engr. Tonye George, said that he felt fulfilled that the project, which started in 1993 during the days of the Oil Minerals Producing Areas Development Commission, OMPADEC, was virtually completed.

He said that the IMC was able to push the project to the level where the contractor was now putting finishing touches because of the active support of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, noting: “As we speak, members of the IMC now work from the new headquarters building.”

Deworitshe Patricia
D (Press & PR)
September 28th, 2020

Federal Government Commends Host Community for Maintaining Peace

Federal Government has commended people of Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State for maintaining peace in their various communities and appealed to Niger Deltans to embrace a peaceful alternative to resolve grievances and agitation.

The Honourable Minister of State, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Omotayo Alasoadura stated this at a Peace and Security Enlightenment and Sensitization Programme with a theme: ‘Peace, Security & Conflict Resolution: A Pathway to Socio-Economic Development held at Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State recently.

He said the people of Imo State have opted to toe the line of peace in all their dealings particularly the peace loving people of Oguta Local Government Area who inspite of being a host Community were usually associated with militancy and agitations has consistently trend the path of dialogue to press for their demands.

In his words, “I salute your courage and patience. Permit me to also thank the various community heads, youth and women Leaders for their efforts at maintaining peace in your various communities”.

He recalled the quote of Mr. President to Niger Delta people that “everybody should bear in mind that while blowing up Oil Pipelines will certainly hurt the Economy, the greatest damage is Ourselves. We degrade our soil, damage our ecosystem and create long term hardship for our communities.”

Sen. Omotayo said the thrust of the peace and security programme is principally to provide the platform for a multi-stakeholders’ dialogue with the people by fashioning out a community-based approach to resolving disputes and security related issues.

He said the platform would enhance the sustenance of communication channels between Government and the people of grassroots with a view to providing enlightenment on programmes and policies geared towards securing sustainable development as well as obtaining inputs into programmes and projects of government for the region.

The Minister charged Nigerians to gradually stop full dependence on Oil and Gas to other means of more sustainable livelihood such as agriculture and other vocations adding that the Ministry is ready to collaborate with all well-meaning people and organizations in the region and Nigeria at large to fast track the development of the region.

Speaking further, the Minister called on all stakeholders to work together to eliminate obstacles in the development of the Niger Delta Region. He stated that there is a need for collaboration and synergy between the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to harmonize the existing Niger Delta Action Plan of the Ministry and the Mandate of NDDC into a single development agenda through a process that will ensure robust participation of the people as a priority area in the year 2020.

In his opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Dr. Babayo Kumo Ardo who was represented by Director Planning Research and Statistics (PRS), Mr. Alfred Abah expressed that the theme of the programme is in line with the mandate of the Ministry as a proactive measure to promote peace, stability and security in the Niger Delta Region.

He added that the essence of the gathering was to brainstorm and engage in strategic dialogue in order to harmonize the activities of the various stakeholders with a goal to sustain the prevalent serenity in the State.

In his goodwill message, His Royal Highness, Eze Nnani Nzeribe, Eze Eyiche, the Ezeigwe of Oguta Autonomous Community, said Oguta is a semi-urban town & an accommodating community blessed with mineral resources like kaolin, Crude Oil & Gas but unfortunately, these minerals are the source of Conflicts in the area.

In his words, "We are happy that the Federal Government is re-emphasising peace and security as a means to development as we are looking forward to Federal Government's intervention to this Autonomous community.”

One of the Resource Persons, Dr. Jane Favour Chukwukere in her presentation said peace building calls for multi- sectoral approach which according to her, is a collaboration between organizations in different areas of policy and different sectors as well as Communities and people, working together to achieve policy outcome. She therefore defined peace as a concept of societal friendship and harmony in the absence of hostility and violence.

Dr. Jane highlighted some causes of Violence and elaborated more on the benefits of Peace as it enriches our Communities and individual lives as it directs us to embrace diversity and support one another to the fullest, enhance good governance and Economic Development amongst others.

Among the projects sited in the state were the construction of one block of six (6) classroom in Egbuoma Secondary School, Construction of Orodo-Ogwa Road (ongoing), Construction of Orie Ogbaku Umuekpe road (ongoing) and Construction of Elele-Owerri road (ongoing). Other projects are Rehabilitation of Okpala-Iguruta road Phase 1 (ongoing), Skill Acquisition Training for Youths in Oguta (2018).

Patricia Deworitshe
D (Press & PR)
September 16th, 2020

Ministry Poised towards revamping NDDC for optimal performance

The Honourable Minister, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, CON, has stated that the Ministry is making relentless efforts to revamp the Niger Delta Development Commission for optimal performance by ensuring that all issues slowing down productivity and peace in the Commission are resolved.

The Minister stated this while inaugurating the Committee set up to look into some prevailing staff matters in the Commission in his office in Abuja recently.

“The Commission will be rejigged in order to deliver on its mandate, this is for the benefit of the people of the Niger Delta region,” the Minister said.

According to the Minister, over the years, the NDDC has witnessed varying degrees of challenges especially in the management of the Human Resource that had led to low morale and dwindling performance of the staff of the Commission.

He buttressed that the effects of these issues have affected the activities and productivity of staff in the Commission adding that there is continuous bickering and complaint amongst the Management and staff of the Commission.

Sen. Akpabio stressed that for the Niger Delta region to progress and develop, the NDDC must be rightly positioned both administratively and otherwise to deliver on its mandate.

He explained that it is in this connection that the Committee is set up to examine all prevailing staff matters in the Commission with a view to resolving them.

The Membership of the Committee has been drawn from both the Ministry and the Commission with the Director, Community Development and Education, CDE, (MNDA), Mrs. Lauren Briade as the Chairman and Mr. Musa Dakas, Director Human Resources Management (MNDA) as Secretary.

Other Members include; Barr. Stella Aburime-D (Legal) MNDA; Mr. Alfred Abah-D (PRS) MNDA; Mr. Effiong Akwa-EDFA (NDDC); Mrs. Iyingi Numbere-D (NDDC); Mr. Okejoto Goshua-D (NDDC); Mr. Eno Ubi-D(Audit) NDDC; Mr. Patrick Ekade-D (PRS) NDDC.

The Committee members are expected to examine the remote and immediate causes that led to placing some staff on compulsory leave and the deployment of officers in the commission amongst other issues.

The Minister stated that henceforth, the operations of the Commission would be guided by the provisions of the Public Service Rules, Financial Regulations, the Act setting up NDDC and other Extant Guidelines and Regulations guiding staff and related matters, adding that the Committee has 3 weeks to complete the assignment and submit the report to the Ministry.

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Babayo Ardo in his speech stated that as part of the peace making and building efforts made by the Ministry, the Minister had granted audience to the NDDC officials who expressed their dissatisfaction at the manner in which they were sent on compulsory leave.

In a bid to address these issues, the Honourable Minister has directed that a committee, comprising of both officials of the Ministry and the NDDC be set up to look into some of the prevailing staff matters in the Commission with the aim of resolving these issues and ensuring that peace is restored in the Commission and Niger Delta region.

He therefore enjoined the Committee members to work assiduously to come up with recommendations that will move NDDC and the people of Niger Delta region forward.

The Chairman of the Committee and Director, Community Development and Education (CDE) MNDA, Mrs. Lauren Braide in her remarks pledged on behalf of the Committee members, their loyalty, diligence and commitment in finding a lasting solution to the issues encountered by the staff of the NDDC.

Deworitshe Patricia
D (Press & PR)
September 10, 2020

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