Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State, his Rivers counterpart, Chief Nyesom Wike and Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, among other stakeholders have stressed the need for synergy between the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and state governments in the region.
They made the call over the weekend at the 4th meeting of the National Council on Niger Delta which held at the Hotel Presidential in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The meeting with the theme “Relieving Uncommon Development in the Niger Delta Region: Roadmap and Strategy,” also had in attendance the Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom, Chief Moses Ekpo, Special Adviser on Niger Delta, Senator Ita Enang and the newly appointed NDDC Sole Administrator, Mr Effiong Okon Akwa.
Speaking at the event, Governor Diri, who was represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, said effective collaboration between the intervention agency and its catchment states would enhance well coordinated development in the Niger Delta.
The Governor, in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media to the Bayelsa Deputy Governor, Mr Doubara Atasi, lamented the rate of abandoned NDDC projects across the region, which he noted, is in dire need of human and infrastructural development.
On his part, the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, decried what he described as lack of legitimate governance structure in the NDDC which has subjected it to all forms of manipulation and corruption.
Represented by his Deputy, Dr Ipalibo Banigo, Chief Wike called on the Federal Government to draw from the Sovereign Wealth Fund to urgently fund and complete the East-West Road as it is doing for other regions of the country.
In his remarks, Senator Akpabio urged the leaders and people of Niger Delta to support the ongoing forensic audit of the NDDC and cautioned the political class against politicizing development issues in the region.
According to the Niger Delta Affairs Minister: “Some State Governors have sent thugs to chase NDDC contractors out of the site even when they have no budget to develop that particular Infrastructure. So when that happens, how can that lead to harmony?”
In a communique, the stakeholders called on the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to properly coordinate all actors in the region to enhance the much needed synergy to avoid duplication and abandonment of projects.
They also stressed the need to speed up the harmonization of the Niger Delta Action Plan of the Ministry and the Niger Delta Regional Development Plan of the NDDC for effective implementation of projects in the region.
The meeting, which is adjourned to September 2021 in Delta State, also approved the establishment of a Transport and Mobility Programme as well as the new urban renewal and housing programme of the ministry.