The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has stressed the need to promote peace in the Niger Delta to facilitate the development process in the region.
The NDDC Executive Director Finance and Administration, Dr. Chris Amadi, stated this during a stakeholders’ engagement forum organised by the Commission in Port Harcourt.
He described peace as a veritable instrument for nation building, stating that the commission was making conscious efforts to ensure lasting peace.
Amadi, who was represented by NDDC Director of Finance, Dr. Linus Ogbalubi, said the theme of the stakeholder’s forum: “Peace as a Panacea for Sustainable Development in the Niger Delta Region” was apt and it aligned with the determination of the new management of the NDDC to reposition the commission to be able to achieve its mandate.
He said the commission was determined to create wealth and jobs, reduce poverty and unemployment, improve skills and human capacity, improve peace and security, develop partnerships among stakeholders and attract investments in the region.
Amadi said the stakeholder’s engagement would help in proffering solutions to the security challenges in the Niger Delta region, noting that peace and security were necessary ingredients for sustainable development.
He stated: “Building peace across the Niger Delta region is one task that requires a wide range of efforts by different actors, including the government and its agencies, civil society organisations and non-governmental organisations.
“The Niger Delta region bears the brunt of oil exploration and exploitation in the country. This comes with its own security challenges which also hamper development.”
Amadi noted that the NDDC had shown commitment towards addressing these problems and have continued to make genuine efforts towards encouraging the youths and women of the region through impactful programmes which empower them with skills and training.
In his own remarks, the NDDC Coordinator for Rivers State, Hon Tekena Flag Amachree, said the NDDC cannot achieve its mandate in an environment characterised by insecurity as a result of youth restiveness, cultism, kidnapping, armed robbery, harassment and intimidation of development partners.
He said it was important for all stakeholders to pay attention to peace building and proffer practical strategies that would sustain it and encourage development in the region irrespective of the ethnic, religious and political affiliations.
Amachree charged the participants to return to their various local governments and communities with the “gospel of peace as a vital driver in achieving meaningful and sustainable development in Rivers State”.
Urging the participants to be peace ambassadors of the region, he added that it is important for all to begin to woo investors back to the Niger Delta to drive sustainable development which will not only improve the quality of life of the people by reducing poverty and disease, and improve peace and security, but will bring more industries.
He said the region has a great advantage in terms of manpower and mineral resources, but needs peace to prevail so that dreams can be translated to reality.
The forum had in attendance, traditional rulers, Community Development Committees (CDC) chairmen, elders, youths, women leaders and interest groups drawn from across the 23 local government areas of Rivers State.
The NDDC Director Rivers State Office, Mr Benson James Udo-Asubop, assured that the commission would always engage in activities that would promote peace in the various communities in the region.