Posted by Ndubuisi Francis, Abuja | 29 July 2018 | 1,261 times
The federal government is yet to remit N1.3 trillion to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), being outstanding statutory contribution to the interventionist agency since inception in 2000.
The NDDC Managing Director, Mr. Nsima Ekere, who made the disclosure at the weekend in Umuahia, Abia State, during the third National Council on Niger Delta, urged the Federal Ministry of Finance to look into the problem of inadequate funding of the commission.
He disclosed that if released, the outstanding N1.3 trillion would help in completing many uncompleted infrastructure projects across the nine states within NDDC’s catchment area.
Ekere lamented the lack of proper stakeholder buy-in into the Niger Delta master plan, arguing that if there had been enough participation, the blueprint would have transformed the oil-rich region by now.
Describing the master plan as a comprehensive plan of action, Ekere stated that a review of the plan would soon commence, admonishing all stakeholders, including state governments in the region to be prepared to make input.
He expressed optimism that the planned review would culminate in all the stakeholders buying into the plan, and eventually producing an integrated programme for the region.
On calls by some states in the region for inclusion in the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Ekere argued that rather than calling for inclusion and the elongation of the programme, emphasis should shift towards winding it down.
According to him, the preoccupation should be on how to reintegrate the already existing beneficiaries of PAP to ensure they are gainfully employed.
Meanwhile, the Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, has commended the federal government for its roadmap on the development of the Niger Delta region.
The governor gave the commendation while receiving the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, on a courtesy call at the Government House, Umuahia, as part of the activities marking the 3rd National Council on Niger Delta hosted by the state.
Ikpeazu called on the ministry to resume work on the Obehie-Aba-Azumiri road which connects the state with neighbouring Akwa Ibom State, adding that the road was very critical to the economic development of the state and the Niger Delta region.
In his remarks, the minister noted that the ministry had begun to address some of the concerns expressed by Abia State when he visited the state recently on projects’ inspection, adding that the ministry had started tackling the major erosion site at Umnneochi in the state and other federal government projects in the state.
• Culled from THISDAY report
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