The Interim Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mr. Efiong Akwa, has stressed the need for peace and security to create the necessary environment for the rapid development of the Niger Delta region.
Akwa stated this when a delegation from the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic School paid him a courtesy visit at the NDDC new headquarters in Port Harcourt.
According to a statement by the Commission, he said that NDDC needed the support of security agencies to succeed, noting that the presence of international oil companies in the Niger Delta region had made the area susceptible to kidnapping and other forms of criminality.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer said that much as the mandate of the Hydrographic School was basically training, it should also help with surveillance to provide information and data that would help the other security agencies to ensure a safe marine environment in the region.
He added: “The school should be able to share information and intelligence to make the Niger Delta region a place people will want to visit and set up businesses.”
Akwa said that as an interventionist agency, NDDC had a responsibility to ensure that those who safeguard the lives and property of the people were given the necessary support to enhance their capacity to maintain security in the Niger Delta region.
He deplored a situation where after three decades, the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic School was still unable to get international accreditation because of the absence of some critical infrastructure.
He said: “It is regrettable that you have training boats yet you don’t have a jetty. I assure you that NDDC will assist the school to achieve the objective for which it was established.
“Getting accreditation is something we should be proud to help you achieve because it will enhance the capacity of the Nigerian Navy to project us to the outside world as a people that are ready to make progress in the maritime sector.
“We are going to take your designs for the jetty to our Planning Department to incorporate in our 2021 budget and I am confident that the National Assembly will do justice to it. The jetty will be taken care of as soon as the budget processes are through.”
Earlier, the Commanding Officer, Nigerian Navy Hydrographic School, Capt. Mahmud Fana, appealed to the NDDC for support in providing critical infrastructure that would qualify the training school for international accreditation.
He said: “We are having setbacks because of infrastructure deficiency and we need to have the right environment to be able to provide needed security in our area of operation.”
Fana observed that the Hydrographic School was selected for accreditation in 2018 by the International Hydrographic Organisation but following an inspection of their facilities, the accreditation was withheld pending the availability of some facilities, such as surveying boats and a jetty.
He said that a 2018 contract for the construction of a jetty for the school by NDDC was cancelled on account of design deficiencies. However, he said, the school had now produced an appropriate design and would, therefore, want the NDDC to re-award the contract for the construction of the jetty.