We Are Not Benefitting From NDDC, South-South Governors Lament
Governors of the South-South region of Nigeria have said that the running of the Niger Delta Development Commission by the interim caretaker committee is not beneficial to people of the region.
Speaking at a meeting in Port-Harcourt, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State who is also the Chairman of the South-South Governors Forum said that it is important for the states to be represented on the board of the NDDC as communities have a role to play in the surveillance of the nation’s oil facilities and pipeline network.
He said, “The NDDC is actually run in such a manner that it is actually not truly beneficial to our people because there is no stakeholders’ input in the running of the affairs of the commission.
“We do know that there is a forensic audit taking place and if that reason the board has not been constituted, our advice is that monies being sent to the NDDC should be put in an escrow account until a board is constituted and then proper processes are followed in the expenditure of the money in such a way it will be visibly accountable in the best interest of the people of the Niger Delta.”
On the PIB, the Governors insisted on an upward review of the host community trust fund from 2.5 per cent to 10 per cent.
Okowa said, “We took up the issue of the Petroleum Industry Bill which is already before the House and having compared notes with ourselves, we are of the view that while we welcome the Host Community Trust Fund, we do believe that the 2.5 per cent that is appropriated in that bill for the purpose of host community fund is inadequate.
“We have discussed with our people and collectively as leaders of the people in our various States and as leaders standing in on behalf of our people, we urge that the National Assembly increase the provision in the host community fund from 2.5 per cent to 10 per cent in the best interest of our communities, in the best interest of our nation.”
According to him, acknowledging the role of the host communities is critical to the peaceful environment that is needed to promote efficient and greater production in the Nigeria oil sector.
He said, “And the peaceful environment that would be seen in the various oil communities would enable us to have greater production and a seamless production in which we do not have any form of disruption in our oil productions going into the future.”