Port Harcourt — Oil and gas host communities in Nigeria, HOSTCOM, have demanded for a special attention from the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, in order to ensure the sustainable development of the oil rich region.
National President of HOSTCOM, Dr. Benjamin Tamiararebi, made the demand on Thursday, during a capacity building workshop, involving traditional rulers, civil society organisations and youth leaders in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
The workshop, organised by NDDC was for building the capacity of stakeholders and engaging them in the budgetary processes aimed at developing Nigeria’s oil-rich region.
Tamiararebi lauded the Commission for organizing the stakeholders’ engagement, stating that it was fundamental to have such discussions, describing the meeting as long overdue.
“Oil-producing communities deserved a special attention from interventionist agencies such as NDDC, to ensure the sustainable development of the long neglected region.
“Our people deserved to be consulted in all development programmes designed for the oil-producing communities,” the HOSTCOM boss maintained.
Also speaking, the National President of the Traditional Rulers of Oil Mineral Producing Communities of Nigeria, TROMPCON, Owong Effiong Archianga, urged NDDC to carry stakeholders along in her budget preparation and monitoring.
Archianga also urged NDDC to focus its subsequent budgets on youth employment and not just empowerment, so as to create a better future for the teaming young graduates in the region.
“Since in budgeting, funding is very critical, I call on this august assembly to take a critical look on section 14 (2a) of the NDDC Act. The section states that the Federal Government would contribute the equivalent of 15 percent of the total monthly statutory allocations due to the member states of the Commission from the federation account.
The TROMPCON boss remarked that the provision was ambiguous and should be reviewed to enable the Federal Government contribute directly to the NDDC.
He posited that NDDC project monitoring committee should include traditional rulers because most of the projects were done in their various domains.
Responding, NDDC Director, Planning, Mr. Davies Okarevu, said that it was the vision of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, and the NDDC Interim Administrator, Mr. Efiong Akwa, to bring stakeholders together to be part of the budgeting processes of the Commission.
Okarevu assured that from now on, NDDC will be working with budgets with the inputs of the people of the region.