By Faith Madogwe
The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has called for the collaboration and support of Belgium in areas of health, environment, youth empowerment and development of critical infrastructure in the Niger Delta region.
The NDDC Interim Administrator, Mr. Efiong Akwa, made the call when the Belgian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Daniel Bertrand, paid him a courtesy visit at the Commission’s new headquarters in Port Harcourt.
He commended the Ambassador for visiting the NDDC because of its strategic role in the development of the Niger Delta region, stating: “We want collaboration in the areas of health, environment, training, agriculture and developing a new Master Plan.”
He said further: “Health is a major challenge in the Niger Delta region and Belgium has what it takes to assist us, considering the way it was able to successfully tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Akwa observed that Belgium, as the headquarters of European Union, was in a vantage position to coordinate other multi-national companies doing business in the Niger Delta region to partner with the NDDC to speed up development of the region. He said that physical infrastructural development, as well as boosting agriculture, aquaculture and training of the youths in various vocations, were prime issues that called for collaborative efforts.
The NDDC boss noted that part of the health challenges emanated from environmental degradation due to oil spill and gas flaring; stressing the need for assistance and co-operation of multinational companies operating in the Niger Delta region to stop gas flaring and check environmental degradation through collaborative efforts.