ABUJA—Executive Chairman, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, has promised to ensure that the commission uplifts the well-being of the people of Niger Delta, saying the NDDC would engage militants in the area with a view to bringing sustainable peace to the oil-rich region.
Ndoma-Egba disclosed this to journalists yesterday in Abuja, after meeting with officials of African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, an agency of the African Union.
He said: “There are structured mechanisms under the law establishing the commission for engagement and we are going to deploy those mechanisms to the fullest. I believe that the underlying solution to the agitation in the region is development; the moment they begin to see development coming quickly, their anger will begin to abate.
“The environment has an effect on human rights and the African Union Commission is concerned about the state of human rights and fortunately, I think, the Niger Delta area is already on the agenda of Africa Commission on Human Rights.”
He said the African Union Commission would be holding government and the operators in the region to a certain standard, an action he said, would enhance the work of the NDDC, “because we now know that people outside Nigeria have an eye on what we are doing.”
He said his team was still receiving briefs from relevant quarters, noting that it would be too early to draw conclusions on certain issues in the Niger Delta.
“We have just been inaugurated and so we are in the process of stock-taking. We are still being briefed but one assurance I want to give is that we will be telling a new story in the Niger Delta region. It will be a new song. Until we have received all the reports, we cannot draw conclusions. We envisage a region that is fully developed and integrated with an economy of its own. The key thing is judicious use of what is available.
We will use whatever is available judiciously and we are also working very hard to ensure that whatever the commission is entitled to is paid to the commission,” he added.
Leader of the African Union delegation, Commissioner Lucy Asuagbor, said the commission was in the country to monitor issues of human rights as well as compliance with various human rights statutes.
“It is not a secret that there are environmental issues in the Niger Delta and that is why we thought we should be able to discuss with the competent authorities and see what plans they have,” she stated.