26 March 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mr. Nsima Ekere, has announced that the commission would soon set up a Niger Delta Development Bank for people of the region to access funds.
Ekere, who stated this at NDDC’s corporate headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, while meeting with ex-agitators and youth leaders from the nine states of the Niger Delta, led by Isreal Eshanekpe, also known as General Akpodoro, assured that terms of the bank would be friendly.
He disclosed that investors were considering Niger Delta as unsafe, thereby relocating from the region, and admonished the youths to give peace a chance, avoid hostilities and shun criminality.
The managing director called on the youths and other stakeholders in the region to protect assets of the Federal Government and oil companies in their communities, to supporting Nigeria’s economy and put an end to recession.
He assured that NDDC was committed to the economic empowerment of the youths and other people of the Niger Delta, while reiterating that the modular refineries to be established in the Delta would go a long way to better the lives of the youths and other stakeholders.
“The major reason for the meeting with the youths is to rub minds and agree on a sustainable economic empowerment for youths of the Niger Delta. When we talk about empowerment, it is not about giving money. We will not give you fish but we will teach you how to fish.
“The NDDC has been mandated by the Federal Government to work out the framework with the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, so that youths of communities in the Niger Delta will be empowered through the establishment of modular refineries.”
Ekere called on Niger Delta youths to emulate the Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, and have a similar body with acceptable and recognisable leadership in order to be taken seriously.
He said: “The major problem that we have had since we came on board is how to address and talk to youths of the Niger Delta region. Many ‘generals’ have been calling me on this and that, and it has been difficult to know who government should talk to on issues concerning the youths.
“Why can’t we in the Niger Delta agree on a proper youth structure that government can always talk to, when matters on youths of the region come up? Even armed robbers have leaders. Why can’t we have an acceptable structure through which we can engage the youths?
“PANDEF has provided the acceptable structure and platform for elders in the Niger Delta region to be organised and we commend them for that. The youths should borrow a leaf from the elders.”
Responding on behalf of the youths, Chief Fred Obe, from Delta State, lauded NDDC’s managing director for the initiative, while admitting that lack of acceptable platform was the greatest problem facing the youths of the Niger Delta.
Obe disclosed that Niger Delta youths had agreed to operate on the platform of Coalition of Niger Delta Ex-Agitators and Youth Leaders’ Parliament, while assuring that the youths would give peace a chance in the region.