By Galaxy Imanmadu
Human rights activist and Executive Director of Global Action Against Hunger, Crime and Violations of Peoples’ Rights (GAHCAVPER), Comr. Emeka Nwokocha, has expressed concern over the decrepit state of infrastructure in the Niger Delta despite the operations of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) over the years, noting that infrastructure development in the region is a mirage staring the people of Niger Delta in the face.
Comr. Nwokocha, vowed to put the management of NDDC on their toes to ensure the objectives for which the commission was established are achieved to the letter, even as he charged them to make transparency their watch word, saying that Nigerians and the people of Niger Delta region demand better performance from them.
He made the statement in Warri recently while speaking to journalist during his regular quarterly appraisal of the developmental trends in Delta State and Nigeria. He described the slow pace of infrastructural and economic development in the Niger Delta region since the commission was established 19 years ago as worrisome.
Comr. Nwokocha said that members of GAHCAVPER were bent on engaging the authorities saddled with the Niger Delta affairs to ensure development of the region is not truncated. “Members of GAHCAVPER are poised to .monitor the activities of NDDC in a bid to ascertaining the level of transparency and commitment in their operations.
Comr. Nwokocha urged NDDC management to carry out their statutory functions without distraction or interference in whatever form.
He said open protest may not be the desirable option to compel NDDC to shun politicising the infrastructure gap in the Niger Delta region, saying, “measures are being taken to get the attention of the management to do the needful.”
He continued, “we shall not do any protest. We will strongly evoke the extant laws to the letter and engage the commission to furnish us with their activities over the years, and we would match them with the humongous funds that have been allocated to NDDC. Then we will draw the lines as par what the situation truly is. I do not doubt our capacity to undertake the exercise for the good interest of the people of the Niger Delta.
“We are making stringent efforts at GAHCAVPER to analyse the activities of NDDC since it was established, and Nigerians will be astound when the outcome of the exercise is brought to public domain,” he reiterated.
Continuing, Comr. Nwokocha said, “I do not believe all is right and well with NDDC, because I do not see enough of life changing projects being undertaken by the commission in recent times. Maybe I am still in the dark, that is the reason our planned robust engagement with the management of NDDC will set the records right and straight, and also douse any ambiguity if they do exist.”
He continued, “let me humbly ask, when did Nigerians change their nomenclature as all round corrupt people? I think, NDDC cannot surprise Nigerians by posting a clean slate when the chips are down. I smell some rat in their operations which may not be unconnected with some of the shoddy projects I have seen done and commissioned in some communities and towns in Delta state – mostly the road projects.
“The truth must be said and nothing but the truth. Are Nigerians not aware of the changing trends in world economic narratives? I mean, don’t Nigerians, specifically the Niger Deltans know that the oil sector will soon lose its value? International focus currently is renewable energy resources and technology. It is a development that has triggered continuous research and moving away from fossil fuel and giving full patronage to the clean energy sector.”
Comr. Nwokocha noted that serious governments across the world are stringently preparing their exit from use of fossil fuel, noting that manufacturing of electric cars is the vogue currently with many of the brands making their debut at international scenes.
“This is the reason we in Nigeria and especially the Niger Delta people should be serious about how the resources allocated for infrastructure and socioeconomic development are judiciously utilised to improve the wellbeing and standard of living of the people living the communities.”
When the oil is no more marketable, what will be the fate of the Niger Deltans?” He asked.