The reappointment of Dr Samuel Ogbuku shows clearly the grasp of President Bola Tinubu of the challenges of the oil-producing areas of the Niger Delta. The policy direction of Dr. Samuel Ogbuku as enunciated in the last eight months of his leadership must have resonated well with the President’s aspiration for the region which must have led the President to have settled for his leadership.
For the NDDC not to be encumbered, we urge the President to domicile the NDDC in the office of the secretary to the government of the federation as it was for less political interference. The NDDC cannot be tied to the apron strings of the Ministry of Niger Delta Development. The Ministry is a distraction for the NDDC because of unwholly interference which is not altruistic in the first instance.
It is our considered opinion that this present board is allowed to serve out it’s full term so that we can begin to hold them to account. Anything short of this becomes counterproductive to the development of the oil-producing areas.
For the NDDC to perform optimally we have a seven-point RECOMMENDATION to the President.
1.. The fifteen percent contribution from the Federal government has become inadequate therefore we urge the President to immediately send an executive bill for the amendment of relevant sections of the NDDC establishment Act to increase it’s share of contribution to 25%.
- The 3% contribution from the oil and gas companies increased to 10%.
- Ecological funds due to the NDDC from the share of ecological funds released to states should be increased from 50% to 70%.
- An appreciable percentage of the gas flare charge should be paid to the NDDC.
- NDDC should be considered to benefit from the recent and future windfall of revenue shared to various entities by the Federal government.
- Scrap the Ministry of Niger Delta Development because the MNDD since its creation twelve years ago has failed woefully with no verifiable project traced to it. Including having overlapping functions with the NDDC.
- Channel the budgetary provision of the MNDD to the NDDC for proper utilisation of the funds for provision of development infrastructure and capacity building of the youths of the region.
We call for all of these recommendations because it is the NDDC that reaches the remotest communities that produce oil and gas that fuels the Nigerian economy. These communities bear the brunt of ecological degradation therefore more funds should be ceded to the NDDC to continue to provide infrastructure development and better life to the inhabitants of these communities.
We hope that the recommendations should be looked at critically and attended to without bias as a result of the present economic realities.
Convener South South Reawakening Group. (SSRG) / Chairman Board of Trustees Community Development Committees of Niger Delta Oil and Gas Producing Areas.