The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has reiterated its commitment to re-position the region through the development of Information Communication Technology (ICT).
The Chairman, Governing Board of NDDC, Sen. Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN), said this when the Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr Bayo Onanuga, and other management staff visited him on Friday in Abuja.
He said the commission had a programme whereby five optic cables were given to the region to increase internet access.
“You don’t need to be a university graduate to be an ICT guru.
“If we create ICT in the region, it will boost our economy, he said.
The chairman said the commission was also looking at the area of sport, young boys and girls could be engaged competitively.
“Today, sport is a huge industry. What one footballer earns is what a local government makes.
“It is an area that we must engage our young girls and boys competitively,” he added.
Ndoma-Egba commended the effort of the board in the development of the region so far.
“We are committed to doing things right, that is why we have the concept of the four Rs, Restructuring of the balance sheet, Reform of governance protocols, Restore the NDDC’s core mandate, and Reaffirm the Commission’s collective commitment to do what is right.’’
According to the chairman, the commission is being funded largely from proceeds from oil.
“Someday, we don’t know when but the oil will finish. If it thus finishes, Technology will make it less important.
“Today, people are talking of electric cars, while fuel pumps in some places in the world are being replaced by electric and gas pumps.
“So, we must begin to contemplate developing the region beyond oil, and to do so we have to envisage a frame work that can drive development beyond oil,” he said.
Ndoma-Egba said that the commission would set up a development bank that would guarantee development in the Niger Delta region.
According him, the advantage of the development bank is to drive big projects being embarked upon by the bank.
He said the board inherited more than 10,000 contracts, and cancelled more than N200 billion worth of contracts, because they lacked manpower.
“You see one person doing more than 50 projects, so we are trying to streamline to see that everything is balanced,” he said.
The chairman said the commission was a regional development agency that guarantees transparency, which calls for synergy to share responsibility with other stakeholders in the region.
Ndoma-Egba also pledged that the commission would continue its collaboration with NAN, adding that there was no doubt NAN was keeping up with technological trend in the world.
He urged NAN to continue to collaborate with the commission in its efforts to develop the region.
“We like to invite NAN to be our partner in these efforts, specifically in the area of educating the people of the region.
“Especially that we must move from the militancy of destruction to the militancy of development,’’ he said.
Earlier, Onanuga NAN managing director commended NDDC for its activities in the Niger Delta.
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He said NAN was a repository of information that serviced all media in Nigeria, and promised that the activities of the region would be published on NAN platforms.
“If NDDC issues a statement, it goes to a wide range of subscribers both foreign and local.
“We also have NAN TV which operates fully on YouTube, because we don’t have a television station yet,” he said.
Onanuga said the agency was ready to continue its partnership with the commission to promote the activities of the region.
“We know the commission has series of activities, we will be glad to continue our long term coverage and keep bringing out all issues of development to government attention and the world at large.
“In this country, if NAN is not there it will not be heard anywhere, we service virtually all the media in this country, including bloggers, television and radio stations.
“We started as an analogue kind of media, later we adopted the satellite and internet and now we are carefully embracing the new digital media.
“The activities of the commission will fit into our Youtube channel, we can upload it on our platform www.nan.ng, and we can share it with our subscribers.
“Niger Delta to We Nigerians is a place that produces wealth to the nation but now it is the same place we have high level of poverty,” Onanuga said.