Experts in the Extractive Industries yesterday called on the Federal Government to investigative the diversion of $40billion released for the development of Niger Delta in 10 years.
The experts, who were Panellists at the 7th Sustainability in the Extractive Industries (SITEI) Conference, said that despite the huge amount of money released for the development of the area, there was nothing on ground currently to show for it.
One of the Panellists, Charles Achodo, who is the Special Adviser on Niger Delta Affairs to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu said, the time is ripe for the federal government to demand for accountability from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Ministry of Niger Delta for the diversion of $40billion released for the development of the area in 10 years.
Mr. Achodo who said that NDDC and Ministry Niger Delta currently have about 11, 000 contracts, noted that a lot has been done by the federal government to address the challenges in the area.
He said from the 16 Points Agenda submitted by the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), government was able to come up with Niger Delta Development Compact to address the challenges.
Meanwhile, NNPC said apart from the Maritime University, 574 projects have so far been carried out in the area.
However, the Women Leader, Host Communities of Nigeria (Producing Oil and Gas), Delta State Chapter, Barr. (Mrs) Omude Ngozi Ochonogor-Ochibe, said there was nothing on ground to show despite all the money pimped into the area by the federal government.
Omude advised that the federal government should not just release money, but that it should effectively monitor the use of the money.
She said the federal government take 60% of the revenue from the area, therefore, should not push the entire responsibility of developing the area to the state government. “We want 10% equities participation. We want to be stakeholders and not just spectators,” he said.
Above all, the Panellists agreed that there should be fundamental change of attitude to development projects in the area.
The Chief Executive/ Convener of the (SITEI) Conference, Bekeme Masade said, the aim of the conference was to afford the stakeholders in the Extractive Industries the opportunity to discuss the way forward for the country.
Other Panellists at the conference are: Austin Onuoha, Director, African Centre for Corporate Responsibility; Oluwakemi Ademola-Aremu, Department of Chemical Pathology, Collage of Medicine, University of Ibadan, among several others.
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