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January 10, 2024

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NDDC seeks traditional rulers’ support in fight against oil theft in N’Delta 

By Davies Iheamnachor, Port Harcourt

The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has stated that it would ensure the utilisation of the N300 billion approved for the NDDC in the 2024 budget by the National Assembly for the development of states in the region.

NDDC also appealed to traditional rulers in the region to assist the federal government and security agencies in the fight against oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the region.

The NDDC Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Alabo Boma Iyaye, spoke during an interactive session with members of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers at their Council Headquarters, according to a statement in Port Harcourt by Director, Corporate Affairs, NDDC, Pius Ughakpoteni.

Iyaye noted that Rivers State is one of the major oil-producing areas in the nation, adding that no government would play down on the state.

The NDDC Executive Director promised that the commission would use the N300 provided by the NASS for the interventionist agency in the 2024 budget for the development of the states in the region.

He said, “Rivers State is one of the major oil producers in Nigeria, contributing about 33 per cent of the oil revenue of the country. No government can afford to disregard the state.

“I want to assure you that 2024 will be a better year for all of us. The NDDC Board will meet with you again at the appropriate time to exchange ideas. The National Assembly has approved over N300 billion in the budget for the Niger Delta, and the NDDC board will deploy the money for development projects in the various states.”

Iyaye further urged the monarchs to play a vital role in checking the activities of oil thieves in the area, adding that the involvement of the traditional institution in the fight would guarantee its success.

He said, “We need the traditional institutions to assist the government and the security agencies to protect our oil assets. Your majesties, you have very big roles to play to protect our oil assets and projects in the state. If there is no oil theft, there will be more allocation for the Niger Delta. I urge you all to try as much as you can to protect our resources and stop economic sabotage in our region.”

“We recognise the importance of the traditional rulers. Addressing this council today is a great privilege. It is like addressing the entire Rivers State through traditional rulers, representing the 23 Local Government Areas of the state.”

Meanwhile, the Chairman of Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers and Paramount Ruler of Emohua Kingdom, Nyeweli Ohna Sergeant Awuse, noted that the interactive session was a welcome development from the NDDC. He noted that the gesture was a sign of respect for the traditional institution.

Awuse said, “We are elated and appreciative of the move to meet the leadership of traditional institutions in Rivers State. The NDDC has had so many problems in the past, but change has come. I thank Mr. President for what he is doing. A quick glance at the Board of the NDDC shows that the members were carefully selected.

“This is the first time that the NDDC is reaching out to the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers for an interactive session. We are not taking this gesture for granted, and we will give them our support and pray they discharge their duties well for the Niger Delta region.”

Vanguard News