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By Barbara Kalu (PORT-HARCOURT)

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has assured that it will address the needs of youths and communities in the Niger Delta region.

NDDC Board Chairman, Lauretta Onochie disclosed this today when she and a member of the Board representing the North West, Prince Sani Iko Sami, received a delegation of the Ogoni Youths Peace Movement at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt.

She said: “We are determined to ensure that youths of the Niger Delta are empowered according to their needs because everyone is different. So, we are going to carry out a needs assessment to be sure of what you need. Every community is also different. So, we will meet you at your point of need.”

Speaking further, Onochie emphasized the importance of community engagement in developing the Niger Delta region. She stated that the Commission is committed to working closely with communities in the region to identify their needs and provide the necessary support.

She said, “Community engagement is key to developing the Niger Delta region. We are committed to working closely with communities in the region to identify their needs and provide the necessary support. We are also committed to ensuring that our projects are executed transparently and accountable.”

The Chairman emphasized that under her leadership, NDDC will work closely with Niger Delta stakeholders to achieve the Commission’s goal by meeting the people’s needs. She said, “We will guard your money very jealously and ensure that what belongs to you comes to you. We have received your 5-point proposal, and I must say that they are within the principal mandate of NDDC, which is exactly what our Board is pursuing. So, be rest assured we are on the same page.”

She commended the Ogoni Youths Peace Movement for their peaceful disposition: “I am happy that you stand for peace. That is not something Nigerians know about the Niger Delta. The late Ken Saro-Wiwa will be very proud of you because that was what he stood for. I am also very proud of you. We will support you to continue to keep the peace.”

Earlier, the leader of the delegation and Vice President of Ogoni Youths Peace Movement, Comrade Nulai Tambari, urged the NDDC to undertake skills training for youths and women of the Niger Delta to improve their livelihoods and living standards.

He said, “We want to bring to your notice the need for empowerment programmes and skills acquisition training for the youths and women. Most of our youths and women are peasant farmers and need to be empowered and trained to enhance their livelihoods and living standards.”

He added: “Most social evils, like kidnapping, robbery, cultism, and bunkering, will be things of the past if NDDC considers these requests for empowerment and training.”

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