The Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, has assured the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) of the support and collaboration of his committee in the development of the Niger Delta region.
Speaking on Wednesday during the oversight visit of the Senate Committee at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt, Senator Nwaboshi stated that the Commission’s strategy of engagement and collaboration was important for progress in the Niger Delta region.
“The Interim Administrator has been so nice in terms of reaching out, communicating, and discussing. He opened discussions with us,” he said.
“He apologised for whatever happened in the past and he told us that he is ready to work for the people of the Niger Delta region. We are happy that he accepted that there is a need for cooperation and collaboration for Niger Delta to move forward.”
The Senate Committee Chairman assured that they would continue to collaborate with the Interim Administrator and the NDDC for as long as Effiong Akwa remained as the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission.
“We don’t have any problem with anybody. Let’s be clear on that. This committee has no problem with anybody. But if in the course of our oversight function, we step on toes, it is because it is our duty. What happened in the past happened in the course of our oversight function.
“No commission is perfect because you cannot satisfy everybody. You started well by bringing peace and giving people the opportunity to discuss. I assure you that we have an open mind to collaborate and cooperate in the interest of the Niger Delta region.
“The Interim Administrator appeared before us and we told him that to whom much is given, much is expected. We are here to represent the Senate and our function is to make sure that the interest of the people of the Niger Delta region is protected,” he added.
Nwaoboshi expressed delight over the completion of the NDDC permanent headquarters, noting that the Committee had appropriated ₦16 billion for the completion of the headquarters building.
Nwaoboshi said that the Senate was still investigating the issues connected with the NDDC COVID-19 palliative funds, adding: “We are aware that the NDDC Interim Administrator was not part of the NDDC leadership team at the time.”
He noted that Akwa was appointed as the acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration of the Commission in August 2020, a month after the National Assembly probed the matter, stating that he was not a party to any of the transactions on the palliatives
Welcoming members of the Senate Committee, to the NDDC permanent headquarters, the NDDC Interim Administrator, Akwa, thanked them for the oversight visit.
The NDDC boss commended the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs for their unflinching support for the NDDC noting that the support was critical for the development and progress of the Niger Delta region.
“For about a year we had misunderstanding with some members of the National Assembly. The members are noble men and they had to bend backwards to bury the hatchet in the interest of the region.
“When I went to the joint session of the Senate and the House of Representatives to defend the 2020 budget, they cooperated with us. I assured them that we will insist on doing the right thing at the NDDC,” he said.