Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Umana Okon Umana, has said his leadership would reposition the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to deliver on its core mandate.
Umana said the rebranding of the commission would enable it to serve as a vehicle to drive the socio-economic development of the region. The minister said a management retreat of the ministry to be declared open by President Muhammadu Buhari later this month is being planned to draw up a roadmap for a new era in both the ministry and the NDDC.
He said the objectives of the retreat will be in line with the policy goals of repositioning the commission. Umana, who briefed the press at the end of a meeting with his senior management team in Abuja yesterday, addressed other policy issues in both the NDDC and the ministry.
The minister queried the non-connection of the NDDC head office in Port Harcourt, Rivers State to public power supply, as well as the “disproportionate recruitment of staff during the COVID-19 lockdown,” and said the ministry would look into petitions over irregular promotions and deployment of staff in the NDDC.
He directed that a list of all completed projects in the NDDC awaiting payments should be published for public scrutiny, while a stakeholders’ forum should be held to review the existing templates for project delivery.
Umana said the ministry would prioritise project execution and payments that deliver up the most impact for the country. He said the new focus in project execution would shift to “security, health, education, water and road infrastructure.”
He directed that all further award of contracts on water hyacinths in the Niger Delta should be suspended while all such ongoing projects should be reviewed.
He said the review of the Forensic Audit Report into the operations of the NDDC is being concluded, and said he was committed to the implementation of its recommendations. The minister also said that action was being taken to constitute the board of the NDDC in line with the extant law that set up the commission.