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Buhari commissions new NDDC headquarters

President Muhammadu Buhari says the inauguration of the new headquarters building of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, marks an important milestone in his administration’s effort to reposition the Commission for the overall development of the Niger Delta region.

Speaking at the virtual commissioning of the new headquarters complex at the Marine Base, Port Harcourt, President Buhari, observed that the new headquarters building was initiated by the defunct Oil Minerals Producing Areas Development Commission, OMPADEC, in 1996.

Buhari said: “In 2015, as part of my administration’s objectives, we started a holistic reform of the NDDC for greater service delivery for the people of the region. To achieve this goal, I reassigned the supervision of the NDDC to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs for administrative efficiency.

“Second, was the appointment of Forensic Auditors to review the operations of the NDDC from inception to 2019 to ensure that appropriations made to the NDDC are commensurate with what is on ground.”

The President commended the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, for providing the required leadership that saw to the completion of the office complex, noting that money spent on rent would now be saved and deployed to other areas of needs to the region.

Buhari said: “I commend the management and staff of the NDDC for staying on course and keying into the development agenda of my administration. I am particularly pleased to note the cordial relationship between the NDDC and the National Assembly and hope that this relationship will be strengthened for the benefits of the people of the Niger Delta region.”

Speaking earlier, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, said that he was the first minister to visit the new headquarters when it was under construction.

He noted that for over 15 years the old headquarters on Aba Road was not connected to the national grid and thanked the President for making it possible for this anomaly to be halted.

Akpabio declared: “The President deserves a big reward for showing love to the people of the Niger Delta. I also thank the Interim Administrator and the former Managing Directors of the NDDC for their efforts to see to the completion of the new headquarters.”

In his welcome address, the NDDC Interim Administrator, Mr Efiong Akwa, commended President Buhari, the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs and members of the defunct Interim Management Committee for a job well done.

The NDDC Chief Executive Officer thanked the President for reassigning of NDDC to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, stating that the office complex stood as a monument to what Niger Delta people stood for, as “a people who are strong and resolute.”

“It is noteworthy to observe that President Buhari, in a demonstration of the remarkable political will, initiated three major policies that impacted positively on the speedy completion of this project.”

First was the re-assignment of the supervision of the NDDC to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs. Then second, was the appointment of forensic auditors to review the activities of the Commission form inception up to the year 2019. With the forensic audit exercise, it can no longer be business as usual in the Commission.

Third was the policy direction for the completion of all abandoned projects which have positive impact on the people. The completion of this edifice is, therefore, a direct consequence of Mr President’s focused policy direction.”

I specially commend the Governor of Rivers State and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs who turned Mr. President’s directive into completion of the project.

Speaking on behalf of the governors of the nine Niger Delta states, the Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinnma, expressed gratitude to President Buhari for the realisation of the new headquarters.

He said that credit must be given to President Buhari for making the project a reality, stating: “With the completion of the new headquarters, the NDDC will stop the money being wasted on rents and channel it to more productive ventures.

The governor commended President Buhari for setting up a forensic audit and appointing an Interim Administrator to manage the NDDC until the end of the forensic audit.

In his goodwill message, the Amayanabo of Twon-Brass, King Alfred Diete-Spiff, said he was pleased to be part of commissioning of what he described as a magnificent complex. “This is the right step in the right direction, we the chiefs and elders of the Niger Delta stand behind the President and the leadership of the NDDC,” he said.

President Buhari approves Interim Committee for NDDC

*Sends NDDC board list to Senate for confirmation

In line with his recent directive for a comprehensive audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), covering from 2001–2019 period, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of an Interim Management Committee (IMC) to prepare for the audit.

They are: Dr. Gbene Joi Nunieh as Acting Managing Director; Dr. Cairo Ojougboh as Acting Executive Director, Projects, and Chief Ibanga Bassey Etang as Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration.

The IMC was inaugurated by the Honourable Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, in Abuja on Tuesday.

The Inauguration of the new NDDC Board Members – whose names have been sent to the National Assembly for confirmation – will be put on hold until the forensic audit exercise is completed. The IMC will run the organization in the intervening period.

Meanwhile, the Senate on Tuesday started the process of confirming the appointments of nominees for the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, after President Buhari had sent NDDC board list to Senate for confirmation.

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan read a letter from President Buhari, announcing the 16-member board at plenary. Lawan asked the committee on Niger Delta to conclude the screening of the nominees and submit a report, within one week.

According to the letter from the President; the nominees include Dr. Pius Odubu, a former deputy governor of Edo State, who would serve as Chairman; while Bernard Okumagba from Delta State, would serve as Managing Director and Otobong Ndem from Akwa Ibom State was nominated as the Executive Director, Projects.

Others include, Maxwell Okoh from Bayelsa State; Jones Erue from Delta State; Victor Ekhatar from Edo State; and Joy Nunieh from Rivers State; Nwogu Nwogu from Abia State; Theodore Allison from Bayelsa State; Victor Antai from Akwa Ibom State; and Maurice Effiwatt from Cross River State.

Olugbenga Edema from Ondo State; Uchegbu Kyrian from Imo State; and Aisha Murtala Muhammed from Kano State representing North-West area on the board are also on the list.

The other names on the list are, Ardo Zubairu (Adamawa State), who will represent the North East; and Ambassador Abdullahi Bage (Nasarawa), who would represent the North Central geopolitical zone.

How we’ll develop the Niger Delta- Akpabio

The newly appointed Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio and Minister of State, Mr. Festus Keyamo have resumed with the pledge to develop and positively change the narratives of the Niger Delta, in line with the Buhari administration’s Niger Delta New Vision.

The New Vision for the Niger Delta is designed to “develop a new and prosperous Niger Delta through the Federal Government’s forthright partnerships with State Governments, the Private Sector and Local Communities.”

At a reception organised by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs. Didi Walson-Jack and management staff in Abuja on Wednesday, the Ministers said they were prepared to leave huge footprints of success stories in the ministry with developmental projects that would address the needs of the people.

Akpabio said the issues of capacity building, inadequate infrastructure, poverty alleviation, youth restiveness, entrepreneurship, environmental degradation, amongst others, will be tackled head-on.

According to newspaper reports, Akpabio pledged to work harmoniously with the Minister of State to ensure that they lived up to the expectations of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Akpabio added that he loved leaving marks anywhere he worked and called on staff and management of the Ministry to ‘put all hands on deck to ensure that our developmental efforts yield fruits’.

He said, “I love leaving marks wherever I visit, it is a great privilege on our part being selected to work with you, to see how we can turn around the fortunes of the Niger Delta region.

“Of course you know why this ministry was set up, specifically that region would have been like a golden egg, but has been neglected for long. If not because we’re just coming for the first time, I would have asked for your achievements so far, especially in the areas of construction of bridges, employment and others.

“Being a Niger Delta person, I will ensure that things are better for further and effective development of the region. So, the president is looking forward to commissioning a lot of projects in the Niger Delta region. I believe the Niger Delta region and its people, they are looking forward to the alleviation of poverty in their lives and transformation of infrastructure.”

In the same vein, Keyamo pledged to give his best in appreciation of the confidence repose in him by President Buhari.

“Our Govt remains focused on economic growth, development of Niger Delta”

*As FG, partners launch initiative to train 2,500 beneficiaries of Amnesty Programme

 

The Federal Government under the Buhari administration will continue to support initiatives aimed at improving the lives and well-being of Nigerians in the Niger Delta, and contributing to the growth of the Nigerian economy.

This was stated on Friday by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, during the launch of Africa Atlantic Gulf of Guinea Fisheries Limited, an initiative by the Presidential Amnesty Programme and private sector partners to train 2,500 beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme.

During the event, which held at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja, it was noted that the initiative, which would train about 2,500 beneficiaries of the Presidential Amnesty Programme in fishing techniques and the fishery value chain, is also designed to also build 100 fishing trawlers in Nigeria.

The initiative is a Private Public Partnership between the Presidential Amnesty Programme, on behalf of the Federal Government, and private sector partners ,which include Concept Amadeus and a number of Greek technical partners.

“Today’s ceremony is especially gladdening because not only does it advance the goals of the ERGP, it also brings together in one initiative several of our economic development priorities: Ease of Doing Business, Jobs, Young People, the Niger Delta, and Agriculture and Food Security,” noted Osinbajo, who was represented at the event by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Matters, Office of the Vice President, Mr. Edobor Iyamu, who delivered the VP’s remarks.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who was represented by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta matters (office of the vice president) Mr. Edobor Iyamu at the launching of the Atlantic Gulf of Guinea Fisheries Limited today the 24th of May 2019 at the state house auditorium Abuja, stated that the Land mark initiative is aimed at improving the lives and well being of Niger Deltans.

Iyamu (2nd from right) represented the VP at the event

Osinbajo said “in the last four years, the Buhari administration, has its focus on reviving the Nigerian economy and repositioning it for true inclusive and diversified growth”.

The Vice President stated that the Buhari administration, in the last four years, has focused on reviving the Nigerian economy and repositioning it for true, inclusive and diversified growth.

“You will all recall the situation we inherited in 2015, and the economic recession that shortly followed, which led to the development of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP). I am delighted to note that two years on, the ERGP has greatly justified its existence.

“Nigeria emerged from the recession in the second quarter of 2017, and since then has enjoyed eight consecutive quarters of growth. And just last week the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics released data that showed the healthiest first Quarter growth since 2015. Inflation is down, and manufacturing confidence has consistently been on the rise for more than two years,” he said.

Prof. Osinbajo emphasized that the Buhari administration remains fully committed to the development of the Niger Delta region through its Niger Delta New Vision.

He said, “For too long the people of the Niger Delta have had to endure failed promises and neglected aspirations. The jinx that attended the Ogoni Clean Up until recently is a very telling example of this. Years after the UNEP Report, there appeared to be little or no political will or determination to implement the recommendations, until the Buhari Administration emerged.

“From the start we have left no one in doubt as to our commitment to set the ball rolling. I am delighted that, after two and half years of painstaking preparation and putting in place the proper governance and accountability frameworks, the much-awaited remediation of Ogoniland has finally commenced.

“It is, of course, a long term task, and it is important for us as stakeholders to keep this in mind and not expect any overnight successes. It is also important that we continue to join hands to ensure that the progress we are seeing is not slowed or rolled back in any way.”

While commending the Presidential Amnesty Programme, and the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, for the hard work put into the successful implementation of the Project, he reiterated the support and commitment of the Federal Government to the success of the project.

He added, “Nigeria is a country blessed with immense agricultural resources and potential. Much of that potential has hitherto remained unexploited, and we are very determined to change this. For this reason, this initiative is very much welcome, as it will significantly scale up our domestic fish production and build capacity and value within the fishing industry. It will also produce substantial savings in foreign exchange, considering how much we currently spend annually on the importation of fish.

“It is interesting to note that this initiative is actually one of the earliest success stories of our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) Focus Labs, which we set up in 2018 to resolve the most urgent bottlenecks hindering the progress of business and investment in Nigeria.”

Others dignitaries at the event include the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator, Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo, the Hon. Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Usani, amongst others.

FG approves N100bn for completion of East West road project – Minister

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani has said that the Federal Government had approved the sum of N100bn for the completion of Sections 1 to 4 of the East West road project.

The Minister disclosed this at a meeting with the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM), led by its National Chairman, High Chief (Dr.) Style Benjamin Tamaranebi, in Abuja, on Tuesday, according to a statement from the Ministry.

It will be recalled that the East-West road was originally started by the Federal Ministry of Works and was handed over to the ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, when they had only completed just 10 kilometers.

At the initial stage, it was designed to start from Delta State roundabout, through Ughelli, Patani, kayama, lbehama, to Port Harcourt and end at Oron, in Akwa Ibom State.

It would also be recalled that the findings from a Presidential Inter-Ministerial team on assessment tour of Sections 1 to 4 of the East West road from Warri, Delta state to Oron, Akwa Ibom state, in the year 2018, showed that contractors would require about N100bn to complete the four sections of the flagship project in the Niger Delta region, the Minister said the submission from the committee culminated in the said approval of the fund.

The Minister assured the   people of the Niger Delta that the dualisation of the road was of utmost importance to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the minister stressed that on their part, and the people of the region appreciate the importance of the road in promoting their well-being.

Usani added that the China Export-Import bank had also agreed to support the construction of section 5 of the East West road from Oron to Calabar, with $500M, while the Federal Government pays counterpart funding.

The Minister disclosed that the Federal Government was at the verge of awarding the contract with a new design.

He added that the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority was to monitor the completion of Sections 1 to 4 of the East West road, saying that the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs had given its nod to the directive of the Presidency that the N100bn should be paid directly to the contractors from the Federation Account.

The Minister revealed that the Federal Government has also directed that the Gas Flare Penalty Fine being requested by the host communities, be released to them.

Earlier, the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Prof. Claudius Omoleye Daramola, decried a situation where contracts were awarded to the indigenes of the Niger Delta region, who ended up abandoning the projects after payments, he said decisive actions would be taken to address such occurrences.

“We are doing our best to see how all the communities in the Niger Delta region will benefit from government projects, activities and programmes,” he reiterated.

Prof. Daramola disclosed that all completed projects in the region by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs would be handed over to benefitting communities in due course.

In his remarks, the National Chairman of the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM), High Chief (Dr.) Style Benjamin Tamaranebi, said their visit was to seek the Federal Government’s collaboration through the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, in a bid to address the challenges of various communities in the Niger Delta region.

Niger Delta development: Minister charges NDDC to do more

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, has charged the new management of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to do more for the development of the Niger Delta region.

The Minister was speaking at the NDDC headquarters in Port-Harcourt, when he paid a working visit recently to the new management team of the Commission. He was accompanied by his Minister of State, Prof. Claudius Daramola, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Aminu Aliyu-Bisalla and other directors of the supervising ministry.

The aim of the NDDC is to establish in the Niger Delta region a strong and progressive society in which no one will have any anxiety about basic means of life and work; where poverty and illiteracy no longer exist and diseases are brought under control; and where their educational facilities provide all the children of the Niger Delta Region with best possible opportunities for the development of their potentials.

NDDC sees to the implementation of their mandate by executing relevant projects in the entire region.
Projects are conceptualized, designed and executed based on extensive consultation with locals, input from interested parties and critical analysis by experts. These projects are awarded based on their ability to give maximum impact to the local region and beyond the constraints of allotted budget. NDDC is therefore seen as a good harvest of concrete achievements as evidenced in the array of projects and programs they have embarked upon.

The NDDC has taken giant strides to facilitate the all-round development of the Niger Delta and its people, the Commission said.

Usani stated that the current NDDC management, being an interim one, was expected to do more for the people of the Niger Delta than a regular board. “We expect every functionary and staff of the commission to appreciate this fact and put up the very best efforts in the performance of their duties,” he said.

The Minister noted that, “Brief as this management may be, we are charging you to put in your best. There is a lot that can be achieved, especially as the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari continues for the next four years.”

He emphasised that the policy of the Buhari administration was that there would be nothing like abandoned projects. “That is why you can see many of the projects started 20-30 years ago, especially infrastructure are still being reviewed and executed,” he said.

He also urged the NDDC management and staff to recognise the important and special place they occupy in the development of Niger Delta and in the bigger economic picture of Nigeria.

The Minister said: “It may be too early to assess the performance of the new management team. But it is essential for us to know that the task for the management is a greater burden than it would have been if it has longer time to stay.”

He said that his ministry would continue to supervise the Commission to ensure that it performs maximally “because the performance of NDDC goes a long way to determine the forms of agitation we get from the different segments of members of Niger Delta society. I will be pleased to have a peaceful environment for the period you will be in charge of affairs in the Commission.”

Earlier in his remarks the NDDC Acting Managing Director, Prof. Nelson Brambaifa, said that in the absence of the Commission’s board of directors, the minister takes over as the supervising authority, stating: “It is only fair and wise that he comes once in a while to see how we are faring and to see whether we are following laid down procedures.”

According to him, the new management of the commission was working tirelessly to deliver on its mandate within the shortest possible time.

Prof. Brambaifa said that henceforth, payment to contractors would be made promptly without unnecessary bureaucratic bottlenecks, noting that the Commission had fine-tuned its processes and was now using a more efficient procedure in paying for projects and meeting its financial obligations.

Also speaking, the NDDC Acting Executive Director Finance and Administration, Mr. Chris Amadi, said the Commission was very much aware of the need to fast-track the development of the Niger Delta region and was appropriately taking directives from its supervising ministry.

He said, “We took up payments of contractors who have been owed for years. We made sure that those which fell under 10 million got their payments even in their homes. We are now compiling payments for 20-30million. We have also paid for the water hyacinths and some of the palliatives and interventions which the Commission set out to address the challenges of youth restiveness to ensure peace in the region.”

He said further: “We have paid major contractors to motivate them to go back to site and complete their projects. We have commitments from several of them that projects are on-going and will soon be completed.”

Amadi stated that NDDC had commenced projects inspection, starting with the new headquarters of the commission and would be embarking on major projects’ inspections across the region.

FD, India to partner on training youths in Niger Delta

The Minister for Niger Delta Affairs (MNDA), Usani Uguru has said the Federal Government is ready to partner India on training, youth development and security of investments in the Niger Delta region.

According to Daily Trust, Usani, while receiving the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Abhay Thakur, in Abuja on Tuesday said Nigeria looks forward to further high level engagements with India, especially in politics.

“The Niger Delta is suffering a lot of things, communities in the region are being submerged under the sea due to serious coastal problems,” he added.

Meanwhile while more measures are been provided by the Federal Government, as partnerships are coming in locally and internationally to ensure that the standard of living of the people improves and the region is well cleaned up.

The Minister further stated that in every raining season, not less than 10 to 20 communities are being lost in some States in the Niger Delta region due to flooding.

In the same vein, the Minister of State, Prof Claudius Daramola called on Indian Government to establish Indian Hospitals in Nigeria, saying such will check medical tourism.

Mr. Thakur said there was growth in his country’s collaboration with Nigeria, noting that his country was committed to further collaboration on investments, power, and agriculture and youth empowerment in the Niger Delta region.

He also said his country had a capacity building programme tagged, “Indian Technical and Economic Corporation (ITEC) Programme” under which his country had received several representatives from Niger Delta region of Nigeria,” adding that more youth in Nigeria, especially those from the Niger Delta region could tap from such programme.

It has been estimated that the cleanup of the Niger Delta region, including full restoration of the swamps, creeks, fishing, grounds, and mangroves in Ogoniland, could take up to 25 years. However, the current administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari has continued in its strides to ensure that issues concerning the people of the Niger Delta are attended to through the Ogoni clean-up efforts, which is part of the administration’s Niger Delta New Vision to develop the region.

Niger Deltans are excited due to the continuity of the amnesty programme, also scholarships are given to indigenes to further their education, women and youths are empowered to startup businesses  to improve their standard of living, while provision are being made for good water and health care facilities for the people in the region.