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

Forensic Auditing of the NDDC to reposition the Niger Delta Region-Akpabio

The Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Dr. Godswill Akpabio, CON, has reinstated that the Presidential directive on the holistic examination of activities of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) from its inception in 2001 to August 2019, is not just in furtherance of the present Administrations policy agenda to check corruption but a determined efforts to reposition the NDDC to change the narrative of the region.

The Minister stated this while inaugurating the Field Forensic Auditors on Thursday 3rd September, 2020, in his office in Abuja. According to Sen. Akpabio, the Eight (8) Forensic Auditors were cleared by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) based on individual Firms Technical competencies and Financial compliance.

The Minister recalled that Government’s effort at repositioning the Niger Delta region led to the formation of NDDC in 2000 by an Act of Law mainly to address the issues of Ecological and Socio-economic development problems at the region after many failed attempts.

Sen. Akpabio noted regrettably that most of the problems that led to the failure of the previous Development Institutions created before which includes Niger Delta Development Board (NDDB) created in1958 and Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC) in 1992 all failed because their operations were marred by lack of focus, excessive corruption, political interference and high overhead cost, which are still prominent in the present NDDC.

The Minister further stated that it is pertinent to have a forensic audit considering the amount of resources poured into the Commission over the years compared with the level of development recorded over the same period of time.

According to MNDA boss, "The forensic audit of the Commission is supposed to examine and provide answers, as well as creating a framework for reversing the failures recorded in the past in order to recover those resources recoverable, plug the gaps and stop the waste that is keeping the region under developed.”

“Therefore, the forensic audit should be seen as an opportunity and not a witch-hunt, it is considered as an important project by President Muhammadu Buhari Administration. It will also provide a strong base upon which a new NDDC will emerge”, he added.

In his remarks, the Minister of State, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Omotayo Alasoadura while appealing to the Auditors to do a thorough job assured them that the Ministry would put everything in place to ensure that the goals of the forensic audit are realised. He also stated that States not covered by this initial audit would be brought on board.

The Permanent Secretary Dr. Babayo Ardo earlier in his address noted the approval, appointment and inauguration of the Field Auditors signals the commencement of the auditing process. This is the most extensive audit ever ordered by any Administration in the country to undertake a complete forensic exercise of projects, to establish statutory and non-statutory funds paid to contractors, identify names of beneficiaries of contracts and ways which leakages can be blocked, so that funds can be appropriately channeled.

In a speech delivered by the Principal Lead Consultant, Olumuyiwa Basiru & Co, Kabiru Ahmed, states that the Forensic Audit Exercise should be seen as a serious effort by Government to save the Commission from destruction, as well as to stop the rot and chart a new course for serious repositioning of the Agency, to enable it efficiently channel the massive resources at its disposal for effective development of the region.

He added that in order to successfully execute the Forensic Audit Exercise, Mr. President has directed the following Terms of Reference for compliance and guidance for all Forensic Auditors involved to undertake a complete Forensic exercise of the NDDC activities in their respective states of assignment; examine and establish whether due process was followed in allocating projects to various NDDC States; to properly examine the regulatory framework guiding the Commission for the award of contracts and to establish due compliance with such guidelines for the award of contracts during the period under review, amongst others.

Deworitshe Patricia
D (Press & PR)
September 3, 2020

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