By Miriam Humbe
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs (MNDA) Sen.Godswill Akpabio has tasked members of the Presidential Monitoring Committee (PMC) to brace up to deliver on their mandate by keying into President Muhammadu Buhari’s committment of repositioning and refocusing the Niger Delta Commission (NDDC) in providing meaningful and lasting infrastructural development for the people of the Niger Delta region.
Senator Akpabio who gave the charge during the inauguration of members of the Presidential Monitoring Committee in Abuja said it was a landmark effort on the part of Mr. President to address the gap in terms of government oversight of the operations of the NDDC that has been lacking over the years.
The Minister said the appointment and inauguration of the PMC is in compliance with the provisions of the law as stated in part 6 sections 21 of the NDDC Act 2000 as amended. Therefore, the PMC is a Statutory body recognized by law.
According to the Minister, the Act empowers the PMC to not only monitor the management of funds allocated to the NDDC and implementation of its projects, but also grants the PMC access to the accounts and other records of the Commission while it is also expected to submit periodical reports to the President.
Akpabio also said the PMC has been saddled with a lot of responsibility ; it is therefore obvious that the task before them is enormous but not unachievable and urged members to ensure that the confidence reposed in them was not misplaced.
“As a Ministry , we are conscious of the desires of President Mohammadu Buhari for the accelerated development of the Niger Delta Region as contained in the 2019-2023 Ministerial Mandate and scope of responsibility assigned to be achieved by the present management of the MNDA.
“In specific terms, we have for real commenced the harmonization and implementation of the Niger Delta Action Plan and Niger Delta Regional Development Plan developed by NDDC and MNDA respectively to help achieve rapid socio- economic development’’ he said.
Akpabio disclosed that the NDDC headquarters which has been under construction in the last 23 years will be completed and commissioned by President Buhari in April. He said the PMC will consider priority projects, in implementing developmental projects and also empowerment programs for youths and women adding that, ‘’We must plan towards the Post- Amnesty Era of the Niger Delta region and also Post -oil Era by training our people to acquire the necessary skills and engaging them in various Agricultural Programmes”.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary (PS) , MNDA Mr. Olusade Adesola noted that the inauguration was in fulfillment of a long journey to the establishment of the PMC .
He said attempts have been made in the past to constitute the Committee but was not successfull. It took the doggedness of the Minister and his concern for the people of the region to ensure that the dividend of democracy is delivered to realize this feat.
The Acting Managing Director of NDDC, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei promised that the management team of the NDDC will give maximum support to the PMC.
He disclosed that the 2019 NDDC budget will soon be passed and hopefully contractors who have done their job to specification will be paid when money is available. He noted that the NDDC is also under going some form of reorganization to strengthen it to function optimally.