18 December 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt — The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mr. Nsima Ekere, has stressed the importance of education in ensuring the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region.
Ekere who spoke at the weekend during the maiden edition of NDDC Moot and Mock Trial Competition for law students at the Faculty of Law, Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, said education was a strong influence in the development of the Niger Delta master plan, as well as a key element of the change agenda of the Federal Government.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer maintained that the strengthening of law and order was critical to the development of the region because it would ensure that all stakeholders contributing to regional development operated within the limits and expectations of the law.
Ekere noted that the region had enhanced development of jurisprudence in Nigeria and contributed immensely to the development of the legal profession.
“Indeed, the region boasts of producing some of the finest legal philosophers in Nigeria, from the Late Justice Udo Udoma, Late Justice Chukwudifo Oputa, Hon. Justice Ndoma-Egba, Justice Victor Ovie-Whiskey, Justice Niki Tobi to the incumbent Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onoghen.
“I am convinced that within this hall are many brilliant minds who will inherit their distinguished bequest. This NDDC Annual Moot Court Trial Competition, therefore, presents us with the first hint of who the new generation of our legal luminaries are and the heritage which we all share.”
The NDDC boss said that the Commission would continue to play its statutory role in developing and supporting other efforts to advance education and would continue to support the development of education, including legal education through practical trainings to improve capacity.
“We can only truly facilitate sustainable developments if we build human capacity, strengthen livelihoods, reduce poverty, as well as contain violence and crime in our region.
“We believe this exercise will help to inculcate the culture, time honoured and establish dispute resolution mechanisms. This competition is a platform which affirms to us all that our collective investments in the education of the youths of the Niger Delta brings in return far greater than its initial investments.”
He announced that the best hostel at the Rivers State University was built by the Comission to give better living and learning conditions to students, adding that the hostel was one of the 18 NDDC hostels projects in universities across the region.
Besides infrastructure, he said: “We have sponsored over 1,411 post graduate students to different foreign universities in nine skill areas, including oil and gas law. Indeed, despite its recent challenges, this programme has produced many great stories, including Mr. Obong Peters, a PhD Student who won the three minutes thesis competition in Australia, and Mr. Augustine Osarogiagbon of Memorial University, who completed in PhD in less than the stipulated time and was offered a dual PhD, with two graduate assistants to work with him.”
“We are also investing to boost E-learning, because this is the future of education and the Niger Delta region cannot afford to lag behind. We have started negotiations with the government of Sao Tome and Principe to harness their excess internet capacity to the region so that our people can enjoy its robust benefits and help build the new generation we are helping to facilitate.”
Earlier, the Dean, Faculty of Law, Prof Nlerum Okogbule, commended NDDC for sponsoring the maiden edition of the Moot and Mock Trial competition for law students, stating that it was a proof of the Commission’s commitment to deepening the promotion of education in the Niger Delta.
Okogbule stated that human capacity building was a very important factor in the development of any region, adding that it was central to any development effort.to develop critical thinking skills.