By Ignatius Chukwu
Seabed activities including mining and exploration affect coastal areas such as the Niger Delta region.
Now, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is to work with the International Seabed Authority (ISA) to maximise the opportunities believed to exist there.
This was the highlight of the meeting visit of the ISA to the NDDC in Port Harcourt Friday, February 17, 2023.
The NDDC was said to have seen the meeting as part of its efforts to collaborate with development agencies and organisations.
The NDDC Managing Director, Samuel Ogbuku, threw more light during a courtesy visit by a delegation led by Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Jamaica, Belize, Haiti and Dominican Republic and Permanent Representative to the International Seabed Authority, Maureen Tamuno (PhD) at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt.
Ogbuku said that NDDC was looking for collaborations that would hasten the development of the Niger Delta region, noting: “Our interest is to fast-track development in the region.
“What you have presented to us will be explored for the benefit of the people of the Niger Delta region. It is good that the ambassador is bringing opportunities back home to Nigeria and we will embrace this opportunity. Anything that will bring value to our people in the Niger Delta will be embraced by us.”
Ogbuku said that the Commission’s Public, Private Partnership (PPP) Committee was working round the clock to attract partnerships that will result in enduring regional projects in the Niger Delta region.
Earlier in her remarks, Tamuno, who is also the chairperson of the National Steering Committee of the Africa Deep Seabed Resources project (ADSR), urged the NDDC to be actively involved in its activities in the interest of Niger Deltans.
She said that ISA has the mandate to ensure the effective protection of the marine environment from harmful effects that may arise from deep-seabed related activities.
The Ambassador said: “We have invited the NDDC to participate in our upcoming workshop in Kingston, Jamaica. We have another scheduled workshop in Nigeria in July.”
She said further: “Nigeria will host a workshop on Africa’s Deep Seabed Resources aimed at raising awareness among African states about the importance and opportunities associated with the development of Africa’s continental shelf.”
In his own remarks, the Director Maritime Boundaries, National Boundary Commission, and secretary ADSR committee, Nurudeen Abba, explained that ISA was mandated under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to organize, regulate, and control all mineral-related activities in the international seabed area for the benefit of mankind.