Daniel Adejo FRCN
The Interim Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Mr. Effiong Akwa says about 70 percent of people in the Niger Delta live below the poverty line despite the region contributing 90 percent to Nigeria’s earnings,
The interim administrator, who stated this in a lecture he delivered at the University of Abuja, said the country needs the Niger delta to be stable and peaceful in order to achieve a robust economy.
Mr. Akwa, in his lecture titled: “The Role of NDDC in National Development” said the recent forensic audit of the commission, led to the completion of 76 contracts.
According to him, the forensic audit of the NDDC commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari forced some contractors to return to site on their own volition.
Mr. Akwa also noted that funding remained a major challenge of the commission since inception stressing that the commission has never received full budgetary provision since it was established in 2000.
He said: “We have a funding deficit. The NDDC as a commission has not received the full budgetary allocation since inception and funding remains a major challenge till date.
“It is a known fact that NDDC is owed in excess of monies by specific fund providers and the current administration is making all efforts to ensure that this is addressed so that contractors can be paid.”
Earlier the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Abuja, Prof Abdul-Rasheed N’Allah said the commission was created as a part of a strategy to move the country forward.
The VC said the university would continue to be at the forefront of organising and leading the country towards issues of development.
He said: “The creation of NDDC was fundamental as a part of strategy to move Nigeria forward. How has this body assisted in helping to address development matters in this country? What is the relevance of the NDDC to the survival of this country? What has it done? Why it is that today we have more questions than answers?”
Also, the Head of History and Diplomatic Studies University of Abuja Dr. Philip Afaha said the 4th Democracy Lecture series was organised to deepen democracy and engender development in the country.