•Senate begins screening of NDDC board nominees
The Minister of State for Niger Delta, Senator Tayo Alasoadura, yesterday berated the people of the Niger Delta region as being their own enemy of progress, stating that the management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) had been run by the indigenes even from the days of the defunct Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC) till date.
The Director of Press in the ministry, Deworitshe Patricia, in a statement quoted the minister to have stated this while featuring on a live programme in Abuja.
Alasoadura further stated that the extent of underdevelopment in the region was quite embarrassing and therefore called for a new direction and focus by organising orientation campaigns for the people and an all stakeholders’ roundtable to come up with documents for agreed positive action plan for the region.
He submitted that both the political elite and the civil service needed a new direction, adding that the bureaucracy must be re-orientated owing to its unsavoury role in the corruption saga bedevilling the oil-rich area.
The minister also called on the privileged few to take responsibility for their involvement in the malfeasances.
According to Alasoadura, the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari for an audit of the interventionist agency was due to poor management, lack of feasible developmental projects and decadence in the midst of the billions of naira allocated to the commission and other initiatives like the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) and the 13 per cent derivation to the oil-producing states to crystallise sustainable development in the region.
The audit report, the minister noted, would be executed by professionals, adding that adequate security had been made for the auditors.
He charged the people to wear a new thinking cap towards advancing the economic development of the area for sustainable peace and infrastructure development.
Also yesterday, the Senate began the screening of Dr. Pius Odubu as chairman of the new NDDC board as well as the Managing Director, Bernard Okumagba, and 14 others.
This follows the formal announcement of the 16-person list on the floor of Red Chamber.
It subsequently gave its Committee on Niger Delta one week to conclude the exercise and submit its report.
Others to serve on the management board are Otobong Ndem as Executive Director, Projects; Maxwell Okoh; Jones Erue; Victor Ekhator; Joy Nunieh; Nwogu Nwogu and Theodore Allison.