The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, has said that the urgent need to intensify and fast-track development in the Niger Delta region of the country has come saying, it would no longer be business as usual.
This retreated as the Minister disclosed that henceforth, the Federal Government would discourage politically-motivated projects in the region.
Sen. Akpabio who spoke during the first policy meeting with the Management team of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), in Abuja on Wednesday, lamented that personal interest, corruption and diversion of funds meant for Niger Delta has adversely affected the core mandate of the ministry.
Akpabio expressed the need to redefine and refocus the activities of the NDDC, to ensure that it achieves the yearnings of the people; fast track development and help move the Niger Delta region to the next level.
While berating the management of the commission for failing to complete the headquarter building project, after its commencement he promised to carry out a probe of the NDDC to have a better understanding of its operations over the years.
Expressing his willingness to key into the transformation agenda of President Mohammadu Buhari, the minister described as unfortunate that about four hundred ex- militants have not been paid in the last ten years adding that he will do things differently.
‘’We will do differently and we will be comprehensive and bold in our action. We will re-enforce the importance of establishing a clear development framework that set out a strategic implementation plan, which will provide guidance and context for all development partners active in the region.
We will also provide the support needed for these tasks. ‘’We must foster a culture of implementation as a single most important factor to deliver effective development in the Niger Delta.
The era of action driven by a common vision and purpose is now. We must deliver and demonstrate measurable results.
‘’As peace and development are essential for enhancing the living standard of our people, it is more than ever critical that we put our house in order before engaging other agencies, partners and stakeholders.
This meeting is called for this purpose; I therefore charged you all to roll up your sleeves for the work ahead, because it is no longer business as usual’’, he said.
On his part, the Minister of State for the Ministry, Festus Keyamo, SAN, said, it was unfortunate that the original concept of the ministry, which is to develop the Niger Delta, has been deviated from.
He accused the NDDC of failing the Niger Delta region, stating that commission had transformed into a conduit to corruptly enrich politicians. Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Mrs Didi Walson- Jack in her welcome address assured the minister of minimum cooperation to achieve his transformation mandate.
She added that the meeting was design with the aim to set the agenda and modality for the way forward, chart new ways to work together as well as improve institutional capabilities and management to deliver real impact.
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