Minister of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs Senator Godswill Akpabio has tasked members of the Presidential Monitoring Committee (PMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to be ready to deliver on their mandate by keying into President Muhammadu Buhari’s committment of repositioning and refocusing the NDDC in providing meaningful and lasting infrastructural development for the people of the Niger Delta region.
Senator Akpabio gave the charge during the inauguration of members of the Presidential Monitoring Committee in Abuja. He said it was a landmark effort on the part of President Muhammadu Buhari to address the gap in terms of government oversight of the operations of the NDDC that has been lacking over the years.
The Minister said the Appointment and lnauguration of the PMC was in compliance with the provisions of the law as stated in part 6 sections 21 of the NDDC Act 2000 as amended. Therefore, the PMC is a statutory body recognized by law, according to the Minister.
According to the Minister, the Act empowers the PMC to not only monitor the management of funds allocated to the NDDC and implementation of its projects, but also grants the PMC access to the accounts and other records of the Commission while it is also expected to submit periodical reports to the President.
Speaking further, the former Governor of Akwa Ibom State said the PMC has been saddled with a lot of responsibility it is therefore obvious that the task before the Committee was enormous but not unachievable. He urged members to ensure that the confidence reposed in them was not misplaced.
“As a Ministry, we are conscious of the desires of President Mohammadu Buhari for the accelerated development of the Niger Delta Region as contained in the 2019-2023 Ministerial Mandate and scope of responsibility assigned to be achieved by the present management of the MNDA.
“In specific terms, we have commenced the harmonization and implementation of the Niger Delta Action Plan and Niger Delta Regional Development Plan developed by NDDC and MNDA respectively to help achieve rapid socio- economic development,” he said.
Senator Akpabio disclosed that the NDDC headquarters which had been under construction in the last 23 years would be completed and commissioned by President Buhari in April.
He said the PMC will consider priority projects, in implementing developmental projects and also empowerment programs for youths and women. ‘We must plan towards the post- Amnesty era of the Niger Delta region and also post -oil era by training our people to acquire the necessary skills and engaging them in various Agricultural Programme,” he said.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Olusade Adesola noted that the inauguration was in fulfillment of a long journey to the establishment of the PMC .
He said attempts have been made in the past to constitute the Committee but was not successfull
According to him it took the doggedness of the Hon. Minister and his concern for the people of the region to ensure that the dividend of democracy is delivered to realize this feat.
In his reaction, the Acting Managing Director of NDDC, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei promised that the management team of the NDDC would give maximum support to the PMC.
He disclosed that the 2019 budget of the Commission would soon be passed and hopefully contractors who had done their jobs to specification would be paid when money is available. He noted that the NDDC was also under going some form of reorganization to strengthen it to function optimally.
Members of the PMC are, the Minister of MNDA , Sen. Godswill Akpabio -Chairman. Minister of State, Sen. Tayo Alasoadura and Olusade Adesola as member.
Other members drawn from other Ministries and Agencies include Aisha Umar (Finance) Mr. Shamsudin Bello ( AOGF)Mr. Attanda kolawole,( Petroleum Resources) Mr. Charles lkeah (Enviroment) Dr Dorothy Nwodo (Humanitarian Affairs) Dr M K Mohammed( Works & Housing) and Mr Alfred Abah Member/Secretary.
Photos: Etimbuk Starry Umana.