July 11, 2024

PANDEF, INC, IYC, others beg Tinubu for adequate funding of NDDC


…Summit critical to growth of N-Delta— Uzodimma

By Daniel Abia

Critical stakeholders in Niger Delta, including Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF; Ijaw National Congress, INC; Ijaw Youths Council, IYC, among others have called on President Bola Tinubu to display his genuine intentions in the development of the oil-rich region through adequate funding of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC. 

The interest groups, yesterday, made the call at the ongoing Niger Delta Stakeholders Summit 2024 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, organised by the commission.

The summit drew participants from the founding fathers of the OMPADEC, royal fathers, women groups, youths and the Presidential Amnesty Coordinator among others in attendance.

Decrying the problem of under-funding of the interventionist agency, the stakeholders said even if it meant borrowing funds for the NDDC, the Federal Government should go ahead and borrow considering that the Nigerian government is prone to borrowing money to fund programmes and projects.

In his solidarity message, National Chairman of PANDEF, Sen. Ibok Essien, said: “The master plan designed for the region cannot be implemented if the commission is not well funded.

“We are borrowing money to do other things. So, even if it means that we have to borrow to enable NDDC achieve its core mandates, we should do so. The single treasury account should not apply to NDDC, it impedes development.”

The INC representative, Ezonebi Oyakemeagbegha and IYC President, Jonathan Lokpobiri, urged government to give priority attention to the fixing of the deplorable East-West road.

Also, one of the founding fathers of NDDC, Prof. Jasper Jumbo, urged President Tinubu to remit all outstanding funds meant for the commission, sufficiently empower NDDC to enable it accomplish its mandate and move the people away from underdevelopment and poverty.

Earlier, Chairman of the occasion and Governor of Imo State,  Hope Uzodimma described the stakeholders’ summit as critical to the growth of the region.

Represented by the Deputy Governor, Chinyere Akimaru, Uzodimma said: “Such forum was necessary to chart a way towards sustainable growth to tackle the poverty and environmental degradation that bedevils the region.”

He, therefore, called for team work to create a brighter future for the region.

In his opening remarks, Chairman, Governing Board of NDDC, Mr. Chiedu Ebie, said the summit was a testament to the commission’s commitment to the President’s Renewed Hope vision and the minister’s charge to the commission.

Presenting the state of Niger Delta Region, Managing Director NDDC, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku said the current administration has focused on infrastructure, education, economic empowerment, healthcare and social welfare and has also laid groundwork for a brighter future, while its alignment with the SDGs demonstrates a commitment to sustainable and inclusive development.

On his part, the National Security Adviser, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, who spoke at the Technical Session of the Summit, described the  theme of the summit, “Renewed  Hope for sustainable development in the Niger Delta’ as very apt.

Ribadu noted that his office was consulting widely, collecting, and building a body of knowledge, information and data that will help the President prescribe policy, and create laws that will address the challenges of the  region in a more holistic and coordinated way.