By Ndubuisi Francis
President Muhammadu Buhari has constituted the Advisory Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in accordance with the provisions of Part III, Section 11 (2) of the NDDC Establishment Act (as amended).
A statement issued by the Head (Press & Public Relations), Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Patricia Deworitshe, said by Section 11 (2) of the Act, the Advisory Committee is saddled with the responsibility of advising the Board and to monitor the activities of the commission, with a view to achieving set objectives as well as to make rules regulating its own proceedings.
Membership of the Advisory Committee as provided in Part III, Section 11(1a) comprises governors of the nine member states of NDDC and two persons determined by the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria which in this circumstance are the Minister of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and Minister of Federal Ministry of Environment.
The statement said the Advisory Committee will be inaugurated by President Buhari at the Council Chamber, State House, Abuja on Tuesday, March 10.
Meanwhile, the ongoing review of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) by the federal government is to institutionalise and refocus the programme for the interest of its beneficiaries.
A statement released by the PAP spokesman, Murphy Ganagana, said this was in line with President Buhari’s determination to deliver the gains of the programme through a transparent process that ensures all allocated resources are judiciously utilised, adding that the success of the programme lies on transformation of ex-agitators from militancy to actualising their aspirations, engaging in businesses and living sustainable livelihood.
“This is why the programme focuses on education, vocational training and empowerment, all designed to address issues of development in the Niger Delta. There is however growing concern that the reintegration component of the programme may have been frustrated by corruption and lack of accountability. This must stop for the benefit of beneficiaries and the Niger Delta.
“While the PAP which was initiated on June 25, 2009 has contributed to stability in the Niger Delta, there have been persistent calls by stakeholders for a review of the programme to achieve its objective of sustaining peace, security and human capital development in the region.
“More than 10 years after its creation amidst numerous petitions and allegations of corruption which are being investigated, available data point to a systemic problem with the programme structure which permits abuse of processes.
“The situation is in direct conflict with the federal government’s resolve to address the root causes of under-development in the Niger Delta conflict that necessitated the Amnesty Programme,” the statement noted.
Ganagana stressed that in order to protect all beneficiaries and ensure that no one is left behind, the government is reviewing the programme to make it work better for human capital and socio-economic development, as well as empowerment of the region and its people.
He pointed out that as the PAP works to review the programme, stakeholders from the region will play a critical role, stating that the guiding principle is mainstreaming and institutionalisation.