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Stakeholders tasked on accountability, transparency, economic devt. of N’Delta

Omiete Blessing

Stakeholders in the Niger Delta region have been urged to ensure transparency and accountability in social and economic development of the region.






A non-governmental organisation, Social Development integration Center (Social Action), made the call in Port Harcourt, during a summit organised in collaboration with the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), with support from the MacArthur Foundation.







Speaking on the theme “Building the Niger Delta Hope: Collaborating for Inclusive Development and Public Accountability”, Dr Isaac Osuoka, Director of Social Action, explained that the aim of the summit was to advocate for transparency and accountability in the management of proceeds from natural resources particularly oil and gas.



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Dr. Osuoka, said the summit was centred around three core objectives: enhancing multi-stakeholders dialogue, cultivating collaboration and embedding accountability.







He emphasised on the urgent need for transformative change in the region focusing on accountability in the face of environmental degradation and social justice.







Osuoka, however, called for concrete actions from President Bola Tinubu to address the ongoing divestment process by International Oil Companies (IOCs), ensure environmental cleanup, equitable compensation, and sustainable practices.






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“Today, we reiterate our demand of President Bola Tinubu, made by community members on the streets of Port Harcourt and by civil society leaders. No further divestment approvals should be granted to any IOC, Shell in particular, until there is a definitive, enforceable, and transparent mechanism that compels these corporations to address their legacies of environmental degradation and social abuses in the Niger Delta.








“The Niger Delta, the heartland of Nigeria’s wealth, has long been a take of contrasts. Despite its vast hydrocarbon riches, the narrative has been married by environmental degradation, poverty, and a sense of neglect. These challenges have stifled the region’s potential and fueled unrest and a clamour for equitable resource distribution.








In his keynote speech, Secretary to the ICPC, Mr Clifford Oparaodu, gave an overview of the challenges faced by the Niger Delta region and the rationale behind the creation of intervention institutions, such as OMPADEC and later the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in 2001.






Oparaodu defended the establishment of the NDDC and urged citizens to participate in the entire process from budget creation to project execution, emphasising the importance of monitoring project quality and timeliness in their communities.







He also advised community youth to consider NDDC projects as beneficial to their own interests and therefore should protect them.







Oparaodu explained that “The challenges confronting the development of the Niger Delta are numerous but surmountable. These challenges can be summarized thus: corruption, wrong designing and placement of projects, greed and avarice, over politicisation of development projects, environmental degradation, restive youth and fragile peace, confrontational host communities, lack of access to amenities for comfortable survival in the rural areas, others”.







In his remark, the paramount ruler of Epara Rebisi XII, Eze Uche Elikwu lamented the underdevelopment of the Niger Delta despite its heavy burden as the region responsible for over 80 percent of the country’s exports.







Elikwu expressed displeasure that the NDDC was yet to fulfilled its purpose since its establishment and meet the expectations of the Niger Delta.







The summit ended up with some recommendations from the panelists drawn from across the Niger Delta state, including Edo, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Rivers, among others.







One of the recommendations suggest that NDDC should concentrate on its mandate to address environmental issues, including pollution prevention, environmental conservation and protection of natural resources within the Niger Delta region.