Niger-Deltans woke up on the fateful day, November 22, 2022 to a new leader at the Niger Delta Development Commission and with hopes that the new administration will immediately take steps to alleviate the sufferings of Niger-Deltans with no delay.
Following President Muhammadu Buhari’s vetting, Lauretta Onochie, a former Special Assistant on new Media, has assumed office as the Chairman, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Laureatta’s appointment is a well-deserved appointment considering her antecedent. Lauretta has proven to have the capacity to bring the needed development to the region in no distant time.
The Niger Delta Development Commission is a federal government agency established by Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo in the year 2000 with the sole mandate of developing the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria. One of the core mandates of the commission is to train and educate the youths of the oil rich Niger Delta regions to curb hostilities and militancy, while developing key infrastructure to promote diversification and productivity.
According to history, the NDDC was created largely as a response to the demands of the population of the Niger Delta, a populous area inhabited by a diversity of minority ethnic groups
A firm woman, with obvious love and interest in Niger-Delta, is advised that she hits the ground running on her plan for the region.
Stakeholders believe that as a bonafide daughter of the oil-rich region, she knows where the shoe pinches the people and, as digital and social media aide of President Muhammadu Buhari for over seven years now, she is groomed enough to know the mindset of the President and his vision and mission for the good of the Niger Delta people.
Born July 19, 1955, Lauretta Onochie is an experienced Consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the education management industry.
She is skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Business Planning, Coaching, Lecturing, and Event Management. Strong consulting professional with a Post Graduate focused in Post Compulsory Education and Training from University of Greenwich.
No doubt she will rebrand the commission and give the people of Niger Delta meaningful projects.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Obong Umana Okon Umana, as the NDDC supervising Minister, has laid out a roadmap for regeneration of the Commission.
Only recently, the Minister told NDDC management and staff when he visited the Commission, that pending issues such as the absence of a board have been addressed. He stated: “Mr. President has transmitted the names of members of the board to the Senate and I do know that on resumption the Senate would act on it.”
One project Niger-Deltans have appealed for urgent attention is the abandoned Fiber Optics/Telecoms and Oil Spill. In 2015, the NDDC started a three months twin certification programme in December 2015, running into billions of naira that was abandoned two months into the training – The Fiber Optics/Telecoms (Owerri) and Oil Spill Management (Port Harcourt) Training for youths of the Niger Delta region. The two programmes were abandoned by the NDDC and its contractors Mr. Alex Duke (CEO of GreenData Limited). GreenData abandoned the 200 trainees in various hotels in Owerri.
In 2022, the programmes are still not completed. One of the core mandates of the commission is to train and educate the youths of the oil rich Niger Delta regions to curb hostilities and also to reduce poverty.
Olamide Adeniji is a member of the editorial team of TheScript Newspaper