President Muhammadu Buhari has called on the people of the Niger Delta region to exercise restraint and allow a conducive atmosphere for the implementation of the several government developmental Projects and Programmes initiated for the area.
Buhari made the appeal on Wednesday in Abuja at the opening of a two-day Management retreat organised by the Ministry of the Niger Delta Affairs and held at the Banquet hall of the Presidential Villa.
The president, who noted the government’s commitments to the region to “give the people a new lease of life”, said his administration was poised to implement more prudent policies and programmes aimed to bring about a better Niger Delta region.
Represented by the Minister of Transportation, Muazu Jaji Sambo, Buhari said, “I urge all well-meaning Nigerians, especially the Niger Deltans, to exercise restraint and ensure a conducive and secured environment for implementation of the several developmental Projects and Programmes in the Region.”
He particularly cited the ongoing East-West Road Project, which he notes, is one of the largest infrastructures in Nigeria, and “strategic” in connecting the country’s busiest and foremost Commercial Cities, in the Region.
Buhari noted that the project was a priority to the administration and assured it will be completed before the end of his tenure as President next year.
This came as he directed the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited and its subsidiaries to step in, with a view to fixing Section 4 of the East-West Road (Eleme Roundabout to Onne junction) through the Tax credit Scheme.
“This should be expeditiously addressed considering the importance of the road to our national economy,” he added.
Buhari hinted at the government’s plan to constitute a new board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NNDC), while acknowledging receipt of the forensic audit report on the commission earlier called by the Governors of the South-South region.
To this end, the President disclosed that his government has already begun a phased implementation of the recommendations submitted.
“In pursuance of our determination to curb corruption and in response to the call of the Governors of South-South for a Forensic Audit of NDDC, I undertook some critical reforms and requested a Forensic Audit of NDDC from inception to 2019.
“The Report of the Audit has been submitted and implementation of its recommendations has commenced in phases. This process will soon usher in a new Management and Board for the Commission.
Continuing, Buhari said the Strategic Implementation Work Plan (SIWP), a framework that focuses on the objectives raised in the Federal Government’s 20-point Agenda and the Pan Niger Delta Forum’s (PANDEF) 16-point Agenda will be strengthened to provide the framework for coordination of development initiatives in the Niger Delta Region to achieve maximum impact, especially at this critical time.
Buhari also mandated the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to carry out a comprehensive Staff Audit of the Commission, ensuring that, Right Staffing and Proper Placement are achieved.
This, according to the President, is to furthermore strengthen the internal structure of the NDDC.
He said these, among other efforts, are geared toward repositioning the commission for optimal performance in the provision of the needed Infrastructural and Socio-Economic development for the people of the Niger Delta Region.
While noting the significance of the retreat which, he said could not have come at a better time, especially, post Forensic Audit of the NDDC, Buhari said concerted efforts are on by the authorities to reposition the Commission for better service delivery in accordance with the provisions of the Public Service Rules, the Financial Regulations and the Public Procurement Act.