By Our Correspondent

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has called on development partners and donor agencies to join hands with the Commission to transform the Niger Delta region into a model of development.

The NDDC made this appeal at a one-day policy dialogue with development partners and donor agencies in Abuja, held in collaboration with the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.

The policy dialogue, themed “Deepening Governance through Transparency and Value-added Partnership”, aimed to brainstorm on the shared mandates of the Ministry and the NDDC, and how best to collaborate and promote greater synergy for enhanced results in the overall development of the region.

The policy dialogue also sought to achieve the following objectives:

  • To comprehensively map donor interventions and compile data on projects in the Niger Delta that complement the mandate of the NDDC.
  • To establish a coordination framework by identifying gaps and ensuring alignment.
  • To ensure accountability, stakeholder participation, and adequate tracking of results.
  • To define strategies of donor support that align the goals to NDDC objectives and community priorities to ensure sustainability and inclusivity.

The NDDC Managing Director, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, stated that the Commission remained the major vehicle for the development of the Niger Delta region, which has suffered from environmental degradation, poverty and underdevelopment due to decades of oil exploitation.

He said: “We are here to appeal to you to consider the Niger Delta as your own. For donor agencies, we say, support us. For the development partners, we say join us to complete ongoing major projects. NDDC alone cannot develop the Niger Delta. We need more funding. We need support.”

He also said that the NDDC had started engagement with the key stakeholders, such as the oil companies who contribute three per cent of their operational budget to the Commission; the state governments, traditional rulers, Civil Society Groups, youth organisations and contractors.

He added that the NDDC would be banking on multinational corporations such as Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil and Total to collaborate with the NDDC in executing legacy projects such as the Warri-Escravos Road.

He said: “Through this policy dialogue, we seek to deepen governance through transparency and value-added partnership.”

The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs commended the NDDC for this initiative, saying that it presented an opportunity to expand formal interaction with development agencies. The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Shuaib Belgore, said that engagement with partners and stakeholders was one of the many new strategies designed by the current management in NDDC and the ministry to fast-track the development of the Niger Delta region.

He cited the Ogbia-Nembe Road, which was jointly funded by Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, and the NDDC, as an example of what could be achieved through partnerships.

He said: “The aim of this forum is to brainstorm on how best to collaborate and promote greater synergy for enhanced result in the overall development of the region.”

The policy dialogue was attended by representatives from various development partners and donor agencies, such as UNDP, USAID, DFID, World Bank, EU, JICA, AfDB, GIZ and CBN.

The participants expressed their willingness to support the NDDC in its mission to offer a lasting solution to the socio-economic difficulties of the Niger Delta region and to facilitate the rapid and sustainable development of the region into one that is economically prosperous, socially stable, ecologically regenerative and politically peaceful.


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