Imperative of Reviewing The NDDC Amendment Bill

by David Ugolor

Recently, the Africa Network for Environment & Economic Justice, ANEEJ, commissioned a review work on the NDDC Act Amendment Bill ahead of the public hearing on the Bill, currently before the National Assembly. The report has been submitted and we consider it expedient to convene a stakeholders meeting to iron out the issues. We thought we should all meet to consider the report, collate and discuss inputs from key stakeholders in the Niger Delta region such as the NDDC, CSOs, media, host communities and others. The intention is to ensure that the ongoing review process is comprehensive and reflects stakeholders’ feedback that could strengthen the operations of the NDDC.

We believe that it is important to review the NDDC Act Amendment Bill, discuss reports relevant to the Act and collate stakeholders’ feedback ahead of the public hearing to be announced by the National Assembly.

We hope the outcome of the stakeholders meeting will be used to engage the relevant committee of the National Assembly before and during the public hearing to ensure that the final document reflects stakeholders’ input. For us and the cluster organisations, this process is very important as we desire a transparent, accountable and improved NDDC working collaboratively with key stakeholders to develop the region.

We have decided to review the NDDC Act Amendment Bill under the ANEEJ-SCALE project on Enhancing Anti-corruption and Social Inclusive Reform Initiatives in Nigeria. The SCALE project is a 5-year project being implemented by Palladium and its resource partners with funds from USAID. It is designed to enhance local civil society organizations’ ability to be positive and responsible change agents in Nigeria. The Enhancing Anti-corruption and Social Inclusive Reform Initiatives in Nigeria project is designed following the anchor cluster model adopted by Palladium to promote and engage in anti-corruption policy reforms. ANEEJ received grant on the SCALE project as anchor organisation working with 8 cluster member organizations spread across six states and the Federal Capital Territory. The States are Abia, Edo, Delta, Imo, Ondo, Rivers and the FCT, Abuja. ANEEJ is working with the eight cluster members located in these states including the FCT to implement and deliver this project.

The cluster organisations are: 21st Century Community Empowerment for youth and Women Initiative, Abuja; Community Empowerment and Development Initiative (CEDI), Warri, Delta State; Community Heritage Watch for Development Initiative, (KAI) Akure, Ondo State; Christian Fellowship and Care Foundation (CFCF), Owerri, Imo State; Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy and Development (FENRAD), Aba, Abia State; Gender and Development Action (GADA) Port-Harcourt, Rivers State; Joint Association of Persons with Disability (JONAPWD) Edo State Chapter; and New Apostolic Church Centre for Development (NCD), Benin City, Edo State.

We consider this project as an important one that seeks to promote and engage in anti-corruption policy reforms at both the national and sub-national levels with an ultimate goal of strengthening governance to deliver development goals to citizens, particularly in addressing poverty and inequality amongst our people.

The project is also designed to address reforms issues within the development commissions set up to develop the Niger Delta region such as the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the oil and gas producing areas development commissions in Abia, Delta, Edo, Imo and Ondo.

Interestingly, a process has been initiated to amend the NDDC Act, an amendment bill has since November 2021 passed the second reading on the floor of the hallowed chamber and the need for CSOs input to reflect the people’s demand before it is passed is paramount.

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