Managing Director (MD) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Nsima Ekere, has described as “unfortunate” the citing of Dangote refinery in Lagos state when the oil will actually come from the Niger Delta region.
Mr. Nsima spoke when the Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, Dr. Samuel Uche paid him a courtesy visit at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt.
“This is unfortunate. If that refinery were to be built in the Niger Delta, imagine the number of jobs that would have been created. It would have impacted positively on the economy of the region,” he lamented.
He, however, urged the Prelate to advise Nigerians, especially Niger Deltans to maintain peace and harmony in the region, stressing that investors won’t put their money where there is no peace.
“Help us to appeal to our youths to give peace a chance because it is only in an atmosphere of peace that development can thrive. No investor can put his money in an environment that has no peace.
“While we are working on this, we also include some socio-economic programmes to teach our youths how to fish. We also need the church to pray for peace in the region, for without peace, we cannot operate successfully,” he said.
The NDDC MD said the Commission was set up by the Federal Government for the sole purpose of developing the region, stating that the visit of the Prelate would change the status of the NDDC for good.
“You have brought the spirit of God to us,” he said.
The NDDC boss reaffirmed the need for cooperation in the Niger Delta, stating: “We will work to promote cooperation, collaboration and synergy among stakeholders, such as state and local governments, oil and gas companies, donor agencies, civil society organisations, community-based organisations and other traditional institutions, in order to make regional development a shared vision and common aspiration.
“We articulated the 4-R initiative to add value to the process of the NDDC. The new initiative will structure our processes and make them transparent.
“It involves restructuring the balance sheet, reforming the governance protocols, restoring the Commission’s core mandate and reaffirming its commitment to doing what was right and proper.
“We are using the bottom up approach where communities determine their needs to guide the NDDC.
“We are reducing the number of new projects, dedicating 70 per cent to servicing on-going projects and 30 per cent for new ones”.
The Prelate urged the National Assembly to appropriate enough funds for the NDDC to enable it carry out its mandate as an interventionist agency meant for the development of the Niger Delta.
“I pray that the management should succeed and I urge the directors to follow due process in all their actions. I am here to pay for NDDC that God’s presence will be in the commission.
“The Niger Delta region is the goose that lays the golden egg. The wealth of this country comes from the Niger Delta, yet the people live in want and deprivation.”
“We have enough for our needs but we don’t have enough for our greed,” adding that he would continue to advocate that more money should be given to the NDDC to enable it to discharge its mandate,” he said.
The Prelate was accompanied by his wife, Nnemona Florence Uche, the Methodist Archbishop of Port Harcourt, Rev. Dr. Sunday Agwu and other priests.