Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has announced an ambitious project to illuminate Niger Delta communities with solar-powered streetlights.
He said more regional and legacy projects would be executed by the current board of the NDDC.
Ogbuku spoke during a visit by members of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt.
“We will undertake more legacy and regional projects. We have embarked on an elaborate project to light up Niger Delta with solar-powered street lights, as part of the measures to reduce criminality in our communities,” he said.
Ogbuku in a statement signed by the NDDC Director, Corporate Affairs, Pius Ughakpoteni, said the commission was working in line with the policy of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration, which emphasised stakeholders’ engagements in the development process.
He said it was important to involve stakeholders in driving the sustainable development of the Niger Delta.
Said he: “We all face the same challenges in the region, this means we must work together to address the challenges, regardless of our ethnic background. Challenges such as underdevelopment and ecological problems confront all of us.”
Ogbuku said the history of the Niger Delta struggle would not be complete without indexing the contributions of the Ogoni people.
“Your contributions cannot be forgotten. More importantly, we are going to support all ethnic nationalities because we are working for all ‘Niger Deltans’.
“In the quest for development of the region, NDDC alone cannot achieve it without the support and partnership of stakeholders in both public and private sectors,” he said.
Ogbuku said the commission would organise a stakeholder’s summit early next year to review its activities in the past 23 years and give groups in the region the opportunity to be part of the development process.
He urged the MOSOP delegation to support the NDDC in its efforts to develop the region, advising them to avoid denigrating the commission.
Ogbuku enjoined the Ogoni to promote peace, as development could only take place in a peaceful and safe environment.
He said: “I, therefore, urge you to support the policies of President Tinubu’s administration. Let us ensure that there is peace in our communities.”
Ogbuku told the visiting delegation that the newly inaugurated NDDC Governing Board was committed to accelerating the development of the Niger Delta.
The MOSOP President and leader of the delegation, Chief Prince Biira, appealed to the NDDC to extend more development projects to Ogoniland, to enhance the living conditions of the people, who had suffered many years on account of oil pollution and negligence.
He reminded Ogbuku that the NDDC was a product of the struggle of the Ogoni people and other agitated ‘Niger Deltans’.
“The essence of this engagement is to exchange ideas on the development challenges of our people. Your pedigree rekindles our hope for a new dawn,” he said.
The MOSOP President described Ogbuku as “a visionary administrator with a mission to bring transformational development in communities across the Niger Delta.”
Biira said things were beginning to change in the way NDDC was tackling the developmental challenges in the Niger Delta.
He said: “We commend the NDDC for initiating a fresh era in the region. We urge you to sustain this laudable effort. We agree that NDDC has projects in Ogoni land, but a lot more needs to be done.
“For instance, we need assistance in upgrading and furnishing primary schools in our communities.”