NDDC ex-board member wants action on N’Delta master plan

Polluted Ogoni land PHOTO:Kelvin Ebiri

Polluted Ogoni land PHOTO:Kelvin Ebiri

IN the spirit of the recent kick-off of the Ogoni clean-up, a former member of the pioneer board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Professor Eyo Etim Nyong, has called on President Mohammed Buhari to also implement the Niger Delta Master Plan.

The university don, who headed the committee that drafted the document, regretted the failure of previous administrations in implementing the action plan which encapsulates a thorough clean-up of the entire region.

Addressing reporters in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, Nyong stressed that the President should be commended for the clean-up and given the necessary support to also bring to life the master plan which should not just be revived but re-enacted.

While condemning the destructive activities of the Niger Delta Avengers, the don said the protest does not help the course which they are claiming.

“In fact, even amnesty would not solve it. Amnesty is just a palliative. Government needs to get down to the real issues of development.

“The clean-up needs a holistic regional approach. To address the issue of environmental degradation that has been with us for a long time. Cleaning up the environment is a priority in the Niger Delta. While the clean-up is going on, you have to create alternative source of income for the people that have been denied their natural farming and fishing business. In the meantime, there has to be alternative sources of livelihood.

“How do you provide the alternative source of livelihood? You cannot seat in Abuja and design a programme. You should get down to the people and seat with them to design an alternative source that suits their cultural background. Stakeholders must be included in development processes. Engaging them and doing a need assessment,” he said.

Nyong continued: “I believe the measures that Buhari’s administration is putting in place will show result very soon. There should be an Integrated Coastal Region Management Committee. More so, NDDC projects should be such which add value to whatever other federal agencies and state governments were doing in the region and not putting a project in a place because a senator is from there.”

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