By Codratus Godson
The federal government is said to have started refund of the shortfalls owed to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) over the years amounting to about N1.3 trillion. The amount had pitched the traditional fathers of the oil region against the FG since the days of Olusegun Obasanjo as president.
Obasanjo has refused to sign the NDDC act and it had to be passed by overriding votes of the National Assembly. Obasanjo however seemed to hit back by allowing the FG to remit whatever pleased him and other statutory contributors were short-paying too. By 2014, it amounted to about N900Bn and shot to N1.3 trillion later.
Now, the Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Professor Nelson Brambaifa, says refund has started under President Muhammadu Buhari who he said loves the Niger Delta people.
The new MD reiterated that President Buhari, had for the first time since the establishment of the NDDC, ensured that the Federal Government started to meet its statutory financial obligations to the Commission in full.
He said that President Buhari also ensured that all other statutory contributors to the funding of NDDC met their obligations, noting that the President also worked to restore peace and security in the region by tackling all grievances of the people.
Buhari loves the Niger Delta
The Acting MD commended President Buhari for demonstrating an enduring love for the people of the Niger Delta region.
The new CEO of the interventionist agency, who spoke during the inaugural meeting of the new management, the directors and staff of the NDDC, at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, noted that the Federal Government had “indeed begun refunding over N1.3 Trillion owed the Commission since inception.”
Prof. Brambaifa, whose appointment was announced on Friday, January 25, 2019, alongside that of the Acting Executive Director Finance and Administration, Mr Chris Amadi, and the Acting Executive Director Projects, Engr. Dr Samuel Adjogbe said the appointment of the new management team was a response to the growing unhappiness in the Niger Delta region over government’s commitment to developing the region and improving the living conditions of the people.
The Acting Managing Director said that the Niger Delta region had suffered enough and President Buhari recognised this fact. He said prompt action has been taken to redress the situation and reassure the people of the region of government’s commitment to their welfare through infrastructural development and capacity building for the youths of the region.
The new NDDC boss said that the appointment of the management team was another step in the effort to offer hope to the Niger Delta people and restore their confidence and faith in rebuilding the Niger Delta region.
The Ag. MD pledged to do everything necessary to respect and implement the mandate of the Commission, “which is to facilitate the sustainable development of the Niger Delta, into a region that is socially stable, economically prosperous, politically peaceful and ecologically regenerative.”
He stated that it was necessary to start work immediately, stating: “The task of developing the Niger Delta is too important to be toyed with, and too compelling to waste time on.”
He urged all stakeholders in the Niger Delta to “join hands with members of the new executive management to ensure a smooth transition, as well as contribute to the immediate delivery on Mr President’s mandate.”
He enjoined the staff of the NDDC to embrace teamwork, hard work and professionalism in the discharge of their work and promised to “change NDDC and take it to the next level.”