The Chairman of the Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN), has stressed the importance of engagements and partnerships in the development of the Niger Delta region.
Senator Ndoma-Egba stated this when a delegation from the Itsekiri Nation paid him a courtesy visit at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Thursday.
The Chairman commended the representatives of the Warri monarch for the mature approach they took in the issues concerning the Warri Kingdom.
He said: “You seek development. We desire development. We will continue to partner with people who seek development and approach their issues in a peaceful way. We want to encourage a new kind of militancy. Militancy for dialogue, militancy for development and militancy for progress.
“This is the kind of militancy we want to see in the region, a militancy of engagement and partnership. We don’t want a militancy of fighting.”
Ndoma-Egba said that a comprehensive development of the Niger Delta region would not be achieved without a sustainable master plan, stating that the NDDC was committed to going back to the Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan.
The Chairman said: “We have to agree on whether to terminate the existing Master Plan, update it or upgrade it. But a Master Plan is needed so that our annual budgets will be annual incremental steps towards achieving the vision of the plan.”
He declared that NDDC had set up a board committee to complement the secretariat of the Partners for Sustainable Development, PSD Forum that would start work on the Master Plan.
Ndoma-Egba said that NDDC was now appropriating more money for existing projects, noting that in the 2017 budget, the Commission was allocating 70 per cent for on-going projects and only 30 per cent for new ones.
He assured the Itsekiri people that the Omadino-Okerenghigho-Escravos Road was a key project for the NDDC and that it was already collaborating with the Delta State Government to execute the project.
Earlier in his address, the leader of the Itsekiri delegation, Chief Kofi Kartey, appealed to the NDDC to expedite action on the construction of Omadino-Okerenghigho-Escravos Road, Ogheye-Koko Escravos Road and Ugborodo Shore Protection Warri South West LGA, among others.
He said: “We of the Itsekiri Ethnic Nation of Nigeria, constitute a significant minority whose homeland is endowed with abundant Natural Resources, including Oil, Gas, Marine and Solid minerals that contribute a significant percentage of revenue of the federation. We make bold to say that the Itsekiri Nation is not below the second position among oil and gas bearing ethnic nations within the Nigerian-nation state.”
Chief Kartey, who is also the Executive Secretary of Olu-in-Council, prayed that the present NDDC board would make a difference in the lives of the people, through speedy execution and completion of its projects.
Kartey declared: “We have huge confidence on this board and the management of NDDC, to bring back Warri Kingdom into true reckoning and into its proper status as a frontline producer of oil and gas in Nigeria.”
Kartey urged the NDDC to consider some projects that may not have been captured under the master plan, but which were very dear to the Itsekiri people.
He said that the projects included the Trans Warri-Ode Itsekiri; and the proposed Warri University.