By Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The United Nations (UN) has said it would work with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDD) to facilitate the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region.
The United Nations Resident /Humanitarian Coordinator, Edward Kallon, made the pledge while endorsing the strategies for intervention in the region by the current Governing Board and Management of the Commission in Port Harcourt on yesterday.
Kallon, who led a delegation of UN officials to the NDDC headquarters, said he came with a proposal for supporting the UN sustainable development goals.
He stated: â€œWe will bring global best practices. The concepts of living no one behind and inclusive growth are so important to the mandate of the NDDC. The Niger Delta region has the oil wealth to finance development, so we must tap into that quickly to change things for good. We want to link the efforts of the NDDC to international programmes for developmentâ€.
The UN envoy added: â€œIf the people have a livelihood, potable water, good roads and power, they will be relieved. I want to see how we can enrich the intervention in the area to calm frayed nervesâ€.
Kallon pledged to support the NDDC in the areas of staff capacity building in global best practices and institutional strengthening. â€œWe will also support the NDDC in its efforts to review the Niger Delta Master Plan,â€ he stated, adding: â€œWe need to support national institutions to foster growth and development. The NDDC is the institution that ensures that the people of the region get what is due to them in terms of development and infrastructureâ€.
Welcoming Kallon and his team, Chairman of the Governing Board of the NDDC, Senator Victor Ndoma- Egba (SAN) said the Commission wanted to create sustainable partnerships to speed up development across the Niger Delta region.
He said: â€œMoving forward, we require sustainable partnerships that will bring sustainable development to the people of the Niger Delta region. We crave your support to act as an advocate for the Niger Delta region. We owe our young people in the Niger Delta region a responsibility to ensure that they remain a resource and not a curse to the regionâ€.
Ndoma-Egba said NDDC was established as a regional interventionist agency to drive an integrated regional economy.Â He added: â€œIt is work in progress and we appeal to the UN to lend us a helping handâ€.
In his presentation, Managing Director of the NDDC, Mr. NsimaÂ Ekere, noted that continuous engagement of development partners would help the Commission achieve the goals of the Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan.
Ekere said: â€œWe have invested heavily in the provision of infrastructure and capacity-building projects in the Niger Delta region. The NDDC has also provided support for the entire agricultural value chain. We have 2,450 kilometers of roads completed and 3,458 kilometers of roads on-going. There are ongoing interventions in coastal areas through shoreline protection, canalization and jetty projects. The NDDC is building electric power transmission infrastructure in rural communities, supply of transformers and sub-stations.â€
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer also noted that the Commission was investing heavily in the agricultural value chain. He declared: â€œSince the current Board and management came on board, the NDDC has issued 900 tractors and accessories to farmers in the Niger Delta region to improve mechanisation of agriculture. The NDDC/Cross River State Government Poultry & Hatchery partnership which aims to produce 50,000 chicks per day is on-going. Our agriculture development partnerships have trained 15,666 people to improve skills and capacity of farmers in the regionâ€.