Chairman of the Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, SAN, has said that rather than carry guns and terrorise people in the name of militancy, it is better to undertake advocacy for development purposes.
He told a delegation from the Itsekiri nation who paid him a courtesy visit at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt that militancy for dialogue, development and progress was the best way to attract the attention of the government.
He said: “You seek development. We desire development. We will continue to partner with people who seek development and approach their issues in a peaceful way. We want to encourage a new kind of militancy. Militancy for dialogue, militancy for development and militancy for progress.
“This is the kind of militancy we want to see in the region, a militancy of engagement and partnership. We don't want a militancy of fighting.”
Ndoma-Egba said that a comprehensive development of the Niger Delta region would not be achieved without a sustainable master plan, stating that the NDDC was committed to going back to the Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan.
“We have to agree on whether to terminate the existing Master Plan, update it or upgrade it. But a Master Plan is needed so that our annual budgets will be annual incremental steps towards achieving the vision of the plan.”
He declared that NDDC had set up a committee to complement the secretariat of the Partners for Sustainable Development, PSD, forum that would start work on the master plan.
The chairman said that NDDC was now appropriating more money for existing projects, noting that in the 2017 budget, the Commission was allocating 70 per cent for on-going projects and only 30 per cent for new ones.
Earlier in his address, leader of the Itsekiri delegation, Chief Kofi Kartey, appealed to the NDDC to expedite action on the construction of Omadino-Okerenghigho-Escravos Road; the Ogheye-Koko Escravos Road; the Ugborodo Shore Protection Warri South West LGA, among others.
He said: “We of the Itsekiri Ethnic Nation of Nigeria, constitute a significant minority whose homeland is endowed with abundant Natural Resources, including Oil, Gas, Marine and Solid minerals that contribute a significant percentage of revenue of the federation. We make bold to say that the Itsekiri Nation is not below the second position among oil and gas bearing ethnic nations within the Nigerian-nation state.”