The Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has made a passionate appeal to the Muhammadu Buhari Administration to priotise the payment of the N800 billion owed the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by the preceding administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
The appeal was contained in a statement in which Rivers APC expressed appreciation to President Buhari for the recent appointment of Mrs. Ibim Semenitari as the new NNDC Managing Director in acting capacity, describing it as best Christmas, Eid-el-Maulud and New Year gift to the Niger Delta region.
“We are very convinced that Semenitari, an award-winning journalist, media manager and seasoned human manager, will surely live the ideals and vision of President Buhari in the region. She has within few weeks at the helm of affairs as the NDDC boss demonstrated understanding of her task and the relevance of the commission to the region,” Rivers APC said in the statement signed by the Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, and issued Tuesday in Port Harcourt.
The statement commended Mrs. Semenitari for fashioning out new strategies on how to develop the Niger Delta region and expressed optimism that her tenure would mark the beginning of the greatness of the region. It, however, expressed sadness that the Jonathan administration has made things difficult for the new NDDC Management by callously accumulating N400 billion debts to about 8,000 contractors, mostly Niger Delta sons and daughters. “The PDP administration ensured the total neglect and underdevelopment of the region by undermining Section 14, 2A and C of the NDDC Act, which has to do with the funding of the Commission and was not complied with throughout the ill-fated administration of Dr Jonathan. To us, this is unacceptable, wicked and unfortunate,” Rivers APC said.
“We plead with the new administration of President Buhari to assist the region by authorising the immediate release of the N800B owed NDDC by the Federal Government to enable the Commission meet up with her statutory obligation to the region. In making this demand we are aware of the poor state of our common patrimony but seeing the strategic inputs of this region to both the economic and political life of our nation, the need for the release of this fund cannot be over-emmphasised. We will like to suggest that it will be very helpful to work out a programme for the release of money so far withheld. These releases can be tied to specific projects on roads, rail, power and even oil refining,” the statement added.
Rivers APC also solicited the support of all Niger Deltans for the new NDDC Management even as it urged Mrs. Semenitari not to relent until the Commission achieves her essence for the region by ensuring the completion of the numerous projects started by her predecessors for the emancipation and development of the Niger Delta. “We at the same time counsel the new NDDC leadership to initiate a stakeholders meeting of prominent actors in the region with the hope of harnessing a common front for a greater future for the region,” the statement said.