The Federal Government has restated its commitment to repositioning the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Amnesty Programme so as to ensure they deliver on their mandates to develop the Niger Delta region.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio made this known on Friday while declaring open, the fourth meeting of the National Council on Niger Delta at the Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Akpabio noted that the Niger Delta region needs a new deal, having suffered so much deprivation and neglect.
The Minister said the government was committed to changing the fortunes of the region to give the people a new lease of life, saying the ongoing forensic audit of the NDDC was expected to reposition the Commission and galvanise it towards optimal development and provide the needed infrastructure for socio-economic development that the region so much requires.
He said: “Due to the efforts and commitment of the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, the new headquarters building of the NDDC, which had been ongoing in the last 24 years, has been completed and is awaiting commissioning by my administration.”
He stated that the completion of the East-West road, which is a priority to his government, has been handed over to the Ministry, assuring that it would be delivered by the end of next year or the early part of 2022.
Akpabio stressed the need for harmony between the NDDC and the state governments in the region for the benefit of the people, saying disharmony between these critical stakeholders was caused by many factors, including political differences.
He advised: “Development should not be tied to any political party, because what the people need is development, irrespective of political affiliation. Poverty and hunger have no political party.”
Akpabio agreed that funds coming to the region were not commensurate with the level of projects on the ground, but stated that governments in the region should be held accountable for the 13 per cent oil-derivation meant to develop the oil-producing communities.