The Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, has assured the Niger Delta Development Commission that President Muhammadu Buhari will stop the problem of the commission’s poor funding.
Oshiomhole explained that the current leadership in the country would enforce the statutory obligations of the Federal Government to the NDDC, unlike previous administrations.
He added that Buhari will comply with the laws guiding the funding of the commission.
The governor spoke at the Government House in Benin while receiving members of the Board of the commission who paid him a courtesy visit on Monday.
In a statement signed by the Head, Corporate Affairs of the NDDC, Mr. Toye Abosede, and issued in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, Oshiomhole explained that the people of the Niger Delta region were expecting much from the commission as a result of the challenges facing them.
He pointed out that the people of the oil-rich region were still facing the problem of oil pollution and other forms of environmental hazards.
He said, “The current leadership of the country, unlike the previous administrations, will enforce the laws concerning the statutory obligations of the Federal Government to the NDDC.
“The expectation of the people of the Niger Delta from the NDDC is very high because of the varied challenges facing the inhabitants of the oil-producing region, especially with respect to oil and gas pollution as well as environmental hazards.
“The South-South Governors’ Forum will soon meet to articulate the way forward for the region. The governors from the South-South share a common passion with NDDC for the development of the region,” the governor said.
Earlier, the Chairman of the NDDC Board, Senator Bassey Ewa-Henshaw, lamented that the activities of the commission were being hampered by funding challenges.
Ewa-Henshaw specifically said that over N800bn due to the interventionist agency had been withheld over the years, adding that N45bn ecological funds accruing to the NDDC were also outstanding.
The NDDC chairman explained that the withheld funds arose from the non-compliance with the Act establishing the commission.
Ewa-Henshaw stated that the NDDC had since inception been getting 10 percent, instead of the statutory provision of 15 per cent from the Federal Government.
He appealed to the governors of the states covered by the NDDC to push for the proper funding of the commission by the Federal Government and oil companies.
The chairman regretted that major legacy projects that would have given the economy of the region a boost had suffered because of inadequate funding.
He said that the current NDDC board inherited about 7,000 projects and a liability in excess of N1trn, including Interim Payment Certificates that were not paid.