Interrogate NDDC Operations, Spending —Civil Society orgs tell People of Oil Producing areas
…..Straighten Stakeholders’ capacity to engage Commission
Civil Society Organizations, CSOs have charged residents of Oil Producing states to exercise their rights by challenging the activities of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC for it to deliver on its mandate in the affected areas.
CSOs also resolved at a Workshop in Akure, the Ondo state capital that to form a movement that will henceforth work with the people in the mandate areas to ensure that projects executed by NDDC are monitored and evaluated.
These were parts of the submissions of stakeholders at an Agenda Capacity Development Workshop held in Akure on Friday.
The theme of the Workshop was “Straightening CSOs and community agency capacity to engage NDDC”, and organised by the Social Development Integrated Centre also known as Social Action and MacArthur Foundation.
In his Presentations, the Chairman, Civil Society Coalition in Ondo state, Mr Franklin Oloniju said the level of corruption in the NDDC over the years had negatively affected it from alleviating the suffering of the people of the oil producing states, hence the need for those affected to start asking questions.
Oloniju pointed out that People should ask questions about the activities of NDDC to ensure accountability and transparency, adding that checks and balances must be activated to demand for the needful from NDDC.
He said “Over the years, we have found that the mandates of NDDC have not benefited the people and the commission itself has been plagued with a lot of issues around corruption, inefficiency, ineptitude activities, not being transparent and accountable. So these are some of the problems that plagued the commission for a long time.
“Based on emerging trend and for the fact that they still continue to hold the destiny of millions of people in their hands in term of being unable to deliver on their mandates, it is important that people must start to hold the commission accountable for them to be able to deliver on their services.
“That is why we are bringing stakeholders across the region to see we can form a movement that will put NDDC on its toes and ensure that it does what it is supposed to do appropriately and efficiently.
“A lot of money budgeted for intervention and construction are not mostly executed and if they are done,they are executed in as substandard. So how can we continue in that manner ? There is a need for us to rejig the processes that goes on within the NDDC for it to deliver on the services.
“One of the things we noticed as stakeholders is that a lot of people still don’t understand the mandate of NDDC and they don’t understand the fact that NDDC should be accountable to them,especially those at the mandate areas. They also do not have the understanding of how to engage NDDC for them to be accountable.
“We also found that people at mandate areas don’t show much interest because there is a lot of shielding in secrecy of NDDC activities and its budget.
“Our presentation is to open up their eyes that they have a role to play in ensuring that this commission delivers on its mandate.
“For them to also understand the importance of people with disabilities, women in the runnings of the NDDC, looking at gender as a component that has been neglected when allocations of posts,resources are carried out and programmes are planned.
“There is a lot of exclusion and marginalisation within the NDDC and people of the community must be ready to address such marginalisation.
“Until the people are conscientised to take up their responsibility and challenge those in charge, there won’t be any change in the way NDDC is being run. So people need to put more searchlights on the activities of NDDC because NDDC has become a milking cow for a lot of people. And those legislators, doing oversight are not really doing their jobs appropriately,” Oloniju submitted.
In his own presentation, Prince Edebo, Senior programme officer, Social Action said “the essence of this workshop is to build the capacity of the community groups and leaders to engage the Niger Delta development commission which was set up for the development of communities for the extraction of oil produced from their region.
Edebo opined, “So there is a need to get back to the communities. However and unfortunately this has not been the case as it is currently. So this workshop is geared towards ensuring that communities are empowered to engage the commission for community development.
“Part of our plans is that communities, will after now, begin to engage NDDC because they would have been thought advocacy skills ,communication skills and engagement skills.
“They would have been thought to carry out community needs assessment, how to look at small at small fiscal financial skills around needs assessment.
“They will also understand that it is not everything they need will be provided for. They should also play their part by ensuring that it is what is needed that should be requested for,” Edebo said.
Participants were drawn from all the oil producing states in the country., where some of them described the workshop as an eye-opener.