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Groups hail Buhari, Niger Delta Minister

Civil Society Organisations in the Niger Delta have commended President Muhammadu Buhari over his reforms and passed a vote of confidence on the Minister of…

Civil Society Organisations in the Niger Delta have commended President Muhammadu Buhari over his reforms and passed a vote of confidence on the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Umana Okon Umana, for re-setting the template for the development of the region.

In a release by the National Secretary of First Phase Ex-Agitators, Comrade Nature Dumale Kieghe, the group said the vote of confidence on the Minister was in appreciation of the three major road projects he has approved to be constructed across the Niger Delta by the NDDC under his supervision.

The scribe of the Ex- Militants also commended the Niger Delta Minister for promising that a white paper on the forensic audit report on NDDC would be published and anybody or company found culpable of short-changing the Commission would be brought to book.
“We appreciate the Minister for the youth empowerment Programmes he has started in the region.

He has boosted the confidence of the Niger Delta people again by looking into those issues which have been drawbacks to the effectiveness of the NDDC”.

“The Minister has also promised that the white paper on the forensic audit would soon be out and that so many people and companies have been blacklisted. We cannot wait for that report to be made public. We are giving him our total support”.

Comrade Kieghe who is also the Chairman Strategic Communications Committee of Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), said: “We are very sure that he will correct the unfortunate narratives in the Niger Delta region within the short period he will serve as a minister. We believe that he would march his words with action.”

Other stakeholders in the Niger Delta region also have reasons to applaud Umana and the new leadership at the NDDC. For concerned stakeholders, new efforts to boost the human capacity development programmes of the Commission deserve commendation.
They note that It was the Minister who insisted on the modification and relaunch of the NDDC scholarship scheme for postgraduate studies in foreign universities to accommodate students in Nigerian institutions.
In the past, the programme was exclusively reserved for post graduate studies in foreign universities. “By extending the scheme this year to include students in Nigerian institutions (public and private), the commission will take a huge financial burden off many parents and contribute handsomely to the funding of our tertiary institutions,” they noted.

Umana observed that the scheme was one of the outstanding achievements of NDDC and he would support it in his capacity as the supervising minister. He said that further changes might be introduced to ensure that the scholarship programme was sustained and even be expanded to cover undergraduate studies.

Recently, President Muhammadu Buhari had reason to commend the Minister for prioritizing the implementation of the harmonisation of developmental plans of all agencies and development partners operating in the region into the Integrated Regional Development Plan as a roadmap to accelerate development.

The President expressed satisfaction with steps taken by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs in repositioning the NDDC in order to ensure that the commission delivers on its mandates and objectives.
President Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Mine and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, during the meeting of the 5th National Council on Niger Delta held in Uyo, frowned at a situation where despite his administration’s huge investment to advance development in the Niger Delta region, there was no commensurate growth in infrastructure, human capital development and other indices of human progress.

He added, however, that the relative peace in the Region was a testimony to Government’s commitment to addressing the concerns espoused by Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF).

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