• Wednesday, July 24, 2024
businessday logo


Buhari’s marching order to the NDDC: Find solution to pipeline vandalism


As bombs begin to explode again to bust crude oil pipelines in the oil region in addition to ongoing vandalism and oil bunkering that may further ruin Nigeria’s oil revenue, President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the restructured Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), headed by Ibim Semenitari, to find reliable solution to the menace.

In Semenitari’s words: “President Buhari has directed the NDDC to quickly intervene and explore every avenue that will help bring back peace and stability in the Niger Delta.”

Semenitari, who disclosed this at a crucial meeting in Port Harcourt on Saturday, said Buhari also charged traditional rulers and stakeholders of the Niger Delta to join in this task, especially on general insecurity in the region. The new managing director spoke at a meeting between the NDDC and executive of the Traditional Rulers of Oil Mineral Producing Communities (TROMCON) in Port Harcourt.

She said: “This marching order entails that we must immediately swing into action; consulting and negotiating where necessary to ensure there are no further acts of vandalism and criminality in the region.”

She appealed to the traditional rulers led by the Eze and paramount ruler of Ngbirichi in Imo State, Akuwueze Ikegwuruka, who is national chairman of TROMPCON, to engage in serious sensitisation of their subjects against oil theft, vandalism and other acts that could cause a breach of security.

The dwindling oil revenue may have put a tone of urgency in the Presidency, as Semenitari said: “This has become even more critical in view of the dwindling oil revenue and serious economic challenges facing the nation.”

It had become extremely expedient for the people of the region to ensure that the nation’s collective wealth and heritage were not further dissipated, with the people’s wellbeing compromised, she said.

She enjoined the royal fathers to engage in five critical areas: curtailing interruptions and community disturbances; engaging and building the culture of community participation in project cycle and project ownership; accelerating efforts to build suitable relationships between contractors and community youths; building a stronger network with security agencies and relevant government institutions to mitigate challenges; and continuing to build peace and understanding among the people.

The new NDDC boss promised to support TROMPCON, as critical partners, in its activities and in the Commission’s efforts to facilitate the sustainable development of the Niger Delta.

Responding, the TROMPCON head said: “TROMPCON has longed to join hands with the NDDC and other development agencies.” He also reaffirmed their stake in the affairs of the Niger Delta and mentioned the place of the NDDC Master Plan and need for regular consultations through the Partners for Sustainable Development (PSD) Forum.”

He said TROMPCON would do whatever was necessary to ensure the maintenance of peace and provide the conducive environment for the NDDC and other agencies of development, including contractors.

He further said that the royal fathers would visit the National Assembly to discuss the NDDC budget and rub minds with them to see how to provide more employment opportunities and avoid a situation where contracts were hijacked to the detriment of the people of the Niger Delta.

Ikegwuruka drew attention to the fact that TROMPCON was currently in court with the Federal Government to press home the demand for proper funding of the NDDC in line with the commission’s enabling law.