The Niger Delta Development Commission has restated its readiness to collaborate with development partners in realizing the objectives of its Public-Private Partnership, PPP, initiative, as a strategy to fast-tracking Niger Delta development.
Speaking during a courtesy visit by a delegation from the Nigeria AGIP Oil Company at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt, the Commission’s Managing Director, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, reaffirmed the importance of sustainable partnerships towards enhancing development initiatives, noting that the Commission has begun to enjoy a robust relationship with the International Oil Companies, IOCs.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer disclosed that the Commission was able to agree on a more mutually beneficial relationship with the Oil Producers Trade Section of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries, OPTS, in a recent interaction in Lagos.
He said: “We reached out to the OPTS and we agreed on normalizing our relationship. We are open to partnerships and collaboration. In the past, the NDDC was not siting projects in the host communities of OPTS members. We want to ensure that whatever the IOCs contributes is reflected in their host communities through NDDC projects.”
Ogbuku assured that NDDC was going to pay more attention to infrastructural development especially in the areas of operations of the IOCs. “We are looking at regional projects that will help to open the Niger Delta region. What we want is development of the region to curb criminality,” he said.
He underscored the importance of some of the regional projects which he noted would benefit AGIP in its operations. These, he said, included the East West Road Junction-Sampou-Odoni-Osekwenike-Elemebiri Road in Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. He noted that the road would link Bayelsa to Rivers and Delta states.
Ogbuku further stated that the NDDC plans to establish a Niger Delta Chamber of Commerce which would drive the empowerment of youths in the Niger Delta region through entrepreneurship.
He explained: “We are putting the structures for youth empowerment. We plan to setup a Niger Delta Chamber of Commerce which will enhance the sustainability of our youth’s empowerment through entrepreneurship schemes. We are also going to build a database of youths in the Niger Delta region to help the Commission offer sustainable training for our youths.”
He pledged that the Commission will partner with the AGIP Oil Company on programmes that will be a win-win for all stakeholders, stating: ” We want to drive the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region through our Public-Private Partnership initiative.
Speaking earlier, the General Manager District, Nigeria AGIP Oil Company, Mr. Giordano Crema, commended the NDDC for its role in the development of the Niger Delta region stating that the region was one of the core assets of the Nigerian economy.
He regretted that there has been a lack of synergy between the IOCs operating in the Niger Delta region and the Commission as not many NDDC projects were not being executed in the oil-producing communities, in spite of the contributions of the oil companies to the funding of the NDDC.
He declared: “We are eager to work with the NDDC. We seek for collaboration with the NDDC. Our collaboration with the NDDC is very important because it affects our host communities.”