The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio has advocated for more funding for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) arguing that the agency was broke as a result of poor funding.
He made this claim during the NDDC Strategic Capacity Building Workshop held at Ibom ICON and Golf Resorts yesterday in Uyo,
According to him, the funding system was poor because budgetary provision for the commission was staggered and does not come as when due.
The Minister who called for an amendment to the laws establishing the agency if feasible said he was determined to leave the NDDC better than how he found it.
“The commission is broke because the funding system is poor. We must leave NDDC better than what we found it. If need be, the lawmakers have to tinker with the law,” he said.
Akpabio cited corruption, weak political and institutional governance, transparency and accountability in performance, information and lack of proper consultation and engagement with the communities and state governments among others as challenges plaguing the commission.
“Corruption is one of the greatest problems of the Nigerian society and it also finds its ugly and devastating effects in all sectors of the polity including the Niger Delta Development Commission.
“The level o corruption engulfed all the sectors including government, parastatals, ministries, government officials and community leader even the youth leaders and NDDC are not left out in the act.
“Weak political and institutional governance in the Niger Delta has led to the misuse of public resources, poor service delivery, and the poor enforcement of the law.
“The consequence has been the lingering restiveness, the breakdown of trust, abuse and misuse of power between officials and the communities, and embezzlement and attendant violence,” he stated.
The Minister who said to achieve good governance, there must be a conscious strategy and culture to applying best practices.
“The current funding patterns and budgeting processes must embrace these best practices, in order to achieve the best, we can, while asking for more funding to do even more sustainable projects and programmes,” he said.
In his welcome address, the Interim Administrator/Chief Executive Officer of the Niger Delta Commission (NDDC), Mr Effiong Akwa, said the retreat was in furtherance of consultation with stakeholders of the commission for the speedy development of the region.
Akwa who stated that NDDC was done with its unsavoury past, said continuous consultation and collaboration for effective development was now the focus of the commission.
He called on stakeholders of the commission and Niger Delta to join hands and work together for the benefit of the the people.
“We are here today in furtherance of our ongoing consultations with stakeholders of the NDDC to distil commonalities among stakeholders for speedy development of our beloved Niger Delta region.
“The NDDC is born again. Contrary to its unsavoury past ways, the core of our new personae is continual consultations and collaboration with stakeholders to co-create commonalities for effective development of the Niger Delta.
“I beckon on all stakeholders of the NDDC and the Niger Delta, please come and let us reason together. Please come, let us work together to create common way forward for the benefit of our people,” he stated.
The retreat has the theme: Collaborating, Planning and Re-strategizing for a better Niger Delta Region.
Goodwill messages was given by Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, Chairman Senate Committee on NDDC, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on NDDC, among others.