Following the recent appointment of Obong Umana Okon Umana as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, there has been a groundswell of agitation for the establishment of a substantive board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by the law.
The latest demand comes from the Social Development Integrated Centre, also known as Social Action, which has asked the Federal Government to establish a substantive NDDC Board and address other NDDC malfeasance.
In a statement signed by its Programmes Coordinator, Botti Isaac, and released in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital over the weekend, Social Action also applauded different groups from the Niger Delta region that have continued to demand accountability and transparency from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) noting that it is indeed instrumental in the call for an effective and efficient commission.
There have been numerous calls from genuine stakeholders who have consistently demanded that the NDDC Act be followed in the Commission’s governance, noting that it was illegal to have contraptions of interim management committees or sole administrators to administer the NDDC and arbitrarily use the monthly allocations due to the interventionist agency.
Even though resources from the region account for over 70% of the nation’s revenue and 90% of foreign earnings (export),” the group expressed regret that “years of neglect and abandonment have increased the suffering of the people of the region.
“Currently there is increasing anger against the Federal Government in the Niger Delta region as a result of the very poor, biased, illegal and provocative actions of the Federal Government in the handling of matters concerning the NDDC and the Niger Delta region.
“Specifically, the NDDC has in the past three years been administered with illegal interim managements/sole administrator contraptions, contrary to the provisions of NDDC Act and negates fair and equitable representation which a board guarantees and which ensures proper governance, accountability, equity and fairness to the nine constituent states”, the group noted.
As a result, Social Action charged the citizens of the Niger Delta region with seizing the bull by the horns and driving the change narrative for the Commission’s most advantageous performance.
“We call on the people of the Niger Delta region to work with other civil society organizations to collectively push the bar of accountability and strengthen the regional mechanism to ensure an improved NDDC,” it reiterated.
The new Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Obong Umana’s restated that “together we can create the necessary impact and make the difference for the people of Nigeria and the Niger Delta“. Social Action urged all stakeholders to engage their political representatives to ensure that NDDC delivers on its mandates of catalysing development in the region” by reiterating its call on the Federal Government to comply with the law by inaugurating a substantive NDDC Board.
“We call on the people of the Niger Delta region to work with other civil society organizations to collectively push the bar of accountability and strengthen the regional mechanism to ensure an improved NDDC”, it reiterated.