An integrated economy and peace have been described as pivotal to the development and political stability of Nigeria’s Niger Delta region.
The Chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba made the assertion when he played host to a delegation of the Nigerian Bar Association Niger Delta Task Force led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Albert Akpomudje in Port Harcourt City, capital of Rivers State.
Ndoma-Egba, also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, expressed the determination to partner with the association to end all forms of restiveness in the Niger Delta, noting that it was imperative for the commission to focus on collaborating with member States to deliver on its original mandate to the people.
According to him, “we are determined as a board to return the commission to the original mandate as being a regional development agency to create an integrated economy for the region.”
“The public perception of the commission today is one of a regional development agency, but one of a contract awarding tranche, which is regrettable because we seem to be competing with States and local government for projects”, stated the Chairman.
He commended the NBA Niger Delta Task Force for its offer to engage the communities in town halls and provide pro bono legal services to all stakeholders in conflict situation.
He said “the most important area is on dispute resolution. They have offered to hold town hall meetings to sensitize the Niger Delta region on the need to pursue peace rather than militancy and I think that is critical to us.”
“There has been recent initiatives by the Acting President with the approval of the Nigerian President on the Niger Delta. So, you can see a new sense of urgency, new sense of determination to quickly address the agitations in the region. For us to achieve anything, we must have peace in the region and I think that is the most critheical aspect”, he stressed.
Mr. Albert Akpomudje, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and leader of the NBA Niger Delta Task Force informed the NDDC Board Chairman of its mandate to collaborate with commission to help address the crisis in the region.
Akpomudje remarked “the NBA cannot fold its arms as watchdog of society to see the region being torn apart without any input geared towards resolving the crisis”.
“our President deemed it necessary to set up the task force to assists all stakeholders in collaboration with the various tiers of government in bringing to an end the crisis that has engulfed, plagued and rattled the Niger Delta region for decades now”, noted Akpomudje.
The NBA Niger Delta Task Force and North East Task Force were inaugurated in October 2016, by the President of the Association and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud.