The Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC),
Professor Nelson Brambaifa, has assured that the Commission will continue to invest in the individual to secure and sustain development in the Niger Delta region and the country at large.
Speaking at the launching of the report of Federal Government’s National Social Investment Programme, NSIP, in Abuja yesterday, (Wednesday), Prof Brambaifa underlined the need to develop human capital.
He stated: “While it is expected that the Commission will provide physical infrastructures that meet the exigent needs of the people, following long years of neglect, we are mandated to do much more. We are expected to invest in the individual.”
The NDDC CEO noted that the most compelling logic behind the National Social Investment Programme, introduced by President Muhammadu Buhari as a strategy to improve the quality of life of the Nigerians, was that the people constitute the wealth of a nation.
Prof Brambaifa said that impacting on the lives of the people would remain the driving vision of the new management of the NDDC. He added: “On assumption of office in January this year, we discovered that the Commission stood at the crossroads. We were, and still remain, determined to fashion another path that would bring development closer to the people and improve their living conditions.”
He explained that one of the strategies adopted by the new management was to quickly revive confidence in the commitment of the Commission to facilitate sustainable regional development. According to him, the NDDC was aware that it had a duty to take the people of the Niger Delta to the next level of physical and social infrastructural development, which would reverse the long years of neglect and poverty and change the unfortunate narrative of the region.
Brambaifa said: “We have begun a process of reforms that would, again, make NDDC a good brand name around the region. We are improving our processes, putting the right officers in charge of duties in which they are more suited, strengthening project implementation and financial instrumentation and protocols, and being able to tell our stories, particularly the impact of our interventions in the communities, better.”
He announced that the Commission had revived the Foreign Post Graduate Scholarship programme and made it more effective and efficient, “because we believe in building a new generation of professionals and skilled workforce.”
He said further: “We are reviving our medical missions across the Niger Delta, to bring free healthcare to the people. We are also empowering the youths and women groups and offering opportunities for job creation and employment.”
Brambaifa stressed the need to invest in agriculture. He, therefore, declared that the NDDC would strengthen the traditional livelihoods of the people, by investing in agriculture in ways that would make them sustainable. “Some of our agriculture impact programmes will include distributing and training women and youth on creating increased value to palm kernels and oils. We will add value to popularly grown agriculture products like cassava by distributing cassava mills and processing equipment. We will enhance value in fish and fisheries,” he said.
The NDDC boss remarked that the Commission had started paying contractors, on projects inherited by the new management. He noted: “We believe that the fastest and most credible way to develop the Niger Delta is to provide physical infrastructure and equip our people to properly manage them. And so we are mindful to also provide intervention on roads and bridges, water supply, electrification, shore protection and canalisation. In all these, we are driven by the grand vision of President Buhari to build a country which fulfils the expectations of all Nigerians, and meets their needs.”
Brambaifa said that fostering peace and the enabling environment for investments, tourism and the greater wellbeing of the Niger Delta people were equally important, “because no credible development can occur in an unstable society.”