By Ushang Ewa
The Chairman of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba has said that the development of the region is the panacea for sustained peace.
Ndoma-Egba stated this Friday when a delegation from the United Nations led by the Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Ambassador Edward Kallon visited the board and management of the commission in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital where they endorsed the commission’s strategies for intervention in the region.
The leader of the seventh Senate said that the armies of jobless youths in the region was a time bomb with development the only panacea to the much desired sustainable peace and reiterated the commitment of the current board to be transparent in all its dealings to restore confidence in the commission as it aims to revise the regional master plan and create platforms for regional economic integration and development.
“We require sustainable partnerships that will bring sustainable development to the people of the Niger Delta region,” Ndoma-Egba said and sued for support from the UN to act as an advocate for the region as the commission works hard to ensure that youths remain a “resourceful and not a curse, like the oil.”
Earlier, Kallon said he came with a proposal for supporting the UN sustainable development goals as the UN will partner NDDC to “bring global best practices,” since “The concepts of leaving no one behind and inclusive growth are so important to the mandate of the NDDC.”
He said the region has the wealth to finance development and sued for urgency in tapping into that as the UN aims to “Link the efforts of the NDDC to international programs for development.”
Kallon who identified issues which need the immediate attention of the NDDC to include poor youths engagement, deprivation and inequitable resources distribution as well as the agitations of several groups in the region and pledged to support the commission in the areas of revising the regional master plan and nerves calming as it is an institution that can foster national growth.
“We need to support national institutions to foster growth and development. The NDDC is the institution that ensures that the people of the region get what is due to them in terms of development and infrastructure,” Kallon said.
Also, the Managing Director of the commission, Nsima Ekere in his remarks acknowledged the challenges mentioned by Kallon and pointed out that continuous political interference in the running of the commission by political leaders was a major problem as due to this influence, the present management had discovered that the commission committed itself to projects that were above its funding.
The NDDC had declared that it has contingent liability of N1.3 Trillion due to commitment to projects without recourse to funding over the years which means the commission has a potential liability valued at that sum that may occur, depending on the outcome of an uncertain future event.
Despite these, Ekere said the commission has invested heavily in the agricultural value chain with the purchase and issuance of about 900 tractors and accessories to farmers and a poultry and hatchery partnership with the Cross River State government which aims to produce 50,000 chicks per day as well as the training of 15,666 people to improve their farming skills.
He said the NDDC has also completed 2,450 kilometers of roads with 3,458 kilometers of roads on-going and shoreline protection of coastal areas, canalization, jetty projects and electric transmission infrastructure projects.
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