The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Rep. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has charged stakeholders in the Niger Delta region on the need to remain committed to the development of the region.
Tunji-Ojo made this call in Abuja on Tuesday during an interactive session with a coalition of interest groups and organisations from Ondo State.
The coalition, led by Mr. Biyi Poroye, consists of over ten groups including Niger Delta Major Stakeholders Forum (NDMSF), Niger Delta Youth Movement (Ondo State Chapter), Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) and Ondo South Advancement and Welfare Consultative Forum (OSAWA).
Others include Follow The Projects (Technocrat Media), Solidarity for Good Governance Forum (SGG), Great Patriots for Better Initiative (GPBI), Ondo South Coalition (OSC), Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) and Ondo State Advancement for Development (OSAD).
The Chairman decried the underdevelopment in the region despite huge funds allocated through the commission to bring development to the people of the area.
He said, “you have endured too much pain in the mandate area and that is why an engagement like this will not be a jamboree.”
The lawmaker explained that the Act establishing the commission empowers the Committee and by extension the National Assembly to perform oversight functions on the commission where every state has a representative.
“We have nine states, 85 federal constituencies and 185 local government areas under the NDDC.
“Every State has a representative in the committee so that when they are talking on what to do or the problem statement, your state representative will stand on behalf of the state because as the Chairman, I cannot have my eyes on the nine states of the region.
The coalition, in its position paper, had earlier raised issues bothering on abandoned projects, human capital development, youth empowerment and scholarship programme for indigenes in the area.
BTO, however, assured them that the committee would ensure that projects facilitated in the budget were done on a needs basis while an independent project monitoring committee would be set up to track all projects executed by the commission.
“We have advised the commission to ensure that it carries out a skill gap analysis of the region and 40% of the revenue should go into abandoned projects and 30% on public private partnership to create jobs,” he submitted.
The member representing Akoko North East/North West Federal Constituency also led the gathering to observe a minute’s silence in honour of a former Governor of the State, Dr. Olusegun Agagu who would have turned 73 years old yesterday.