Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has described the Niger Delta as a huge blemish on the collective conscience of the Nigerian nation.
According to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential frontrunner, “the area has accounted for over 85% of Nigeria’s annual revenues for the past 50 years, but still battles stark under-development and continues to lag behind in almost every key area of development.”
Expanding on the scale of the problem, Atiku said “the establishment of the Niger Delta Ministry and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), as well as the Amnesty programme, have done very little to reverse this spate of under-development. Instead, these organisations have been plagued by allegations of excessive bureaucracies, corruption and misappropriation of funds with little or no development reaching the local communities.”
All these, he says, must stop because as “President, I promise to undertake the following urgent measures: Continuous development agenda through a genuine implementation of the Niger-Delta master plan, push social awareness programmes by creating a high level advocacy and awareness drive to launch the promotion of rule of law and access to justice in the region, pursue a reform agenda which will include relocating the Niger Delta Ministry from Abuja to the region to bring it closer to the stakeholders and beneficiaries of the initiatives then overhauling and possibly merging the Niger Delta Ministry and NDDC to remove overlaps, making them more functional and efficient for service delivery.”