N’Delta ministry, commissioner decry poor funding of projects, NDDC

nddcTHE Niger Delta Affairs Ministry yesterday blamed its inability to execute projects on paucity of funds, which had impacted negatively on the people of the oil producing communities in the Niger Delta area.

Speaking with State House correspondents when he led a team of senior officials of the ministry to brief President Muhammadu Buhari in continuation of the briefing by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) at the Presidential Villa, Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs. Fatima Bamidele, said that since August 2014, the ministry had not received any capital per head.

She said the situation has been slowing the ministry down in its mandate to empower the people of the Niger Delta region as it had stalled a lot of projects.

The Permanent Secretary said she and members of her delegation appealed to the President to assist them in sourcing for funds for the ministry’s projects.

“I came in from the Ministry of Niger Delta on the directive of the President to brief him on the activities of our ministry, mandate, vision, mission, activities, challenges and what we will like His Excellency to look into.

“Such challenges include funding. Since August 2014, we have not received any capital per head up till today. So, a lot of our projects are being stalled and we don’t want abandonment of projects. So, we ask that funding can be sourced for the ministry’s projects”, she said.

In another development, the member representing Cross River State in the Board of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Paul Adah, has urged the Federal Government to provide more funds to the commission so as to meet the yearnings of the people of the region.

Adah, who stated this yesterday in Calabar while donating hospital equipment worth N35 million to the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar, noted that lack of funds has been the main challenge facing the board.

He said: “Although our major challenge is lack of enough funds to carry out our projects, we are optimistic that with the change mantra of the present administration, things will get better.

“Since inception, the Niger Delta Development Commission has remained determined and committed to the people of the region. This is because the region provides revenue for the country and if the people are restive due to infrastructure challenges, it affects the Federal Government.

“Hospitals in the region need critical intervention and it is for that reason that we have responded to some critical areas of needs. What we have committed in meeting these needs in UCTH is to the tune of N35 million.

The Permanent Secretary further said: “We have done quite a number of things. Our mandate is first to ensure the economic empowerment of the people. This we have done through the empowerment of women and youths in the Niger Delta. We have trained at least 4,000 people in agriculture, maritime activities and ICT.

“Part of our mandate also is to ensure we have peace in the region and to reduce militancy and restiveness among the youths. This we have to do through town hall meetings and sensitisation meetings with the people in the area.

“We talked to them and convinced them on the need to work together with the Federal Government to empower the area and develop the area.”

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