Gov Ben Ayade has called on the federal government to review the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Master Plan if the oil-rich region is to witness real growth, saying that very little had been achieved by way of development under the current Master Plan.
Speaking when the acting Managing Director of NDDC, Professor Nelson Brambaifa, paid him a courtesy visit, the Governor said the Plan has not been “implemented in truth, action and in words.”
The submitted that comprehensive review would reflect the realities on ground and help the Commission to deviate from the culture whereby governors in the region were not carried along during contracts award.
His words: “As governor, I have the superintending and overriding power over the land in Cross River which I hold in trust for the people. Therefore, by the provisions of the law, I have the powers to stop any project in this state. It is part of the constitutional provisions under the NDDC Act that the NDDC will have regular meetings with the various stakeholders including the governors that form part of the governing board.
“As I speak, I’m not aware of, nor have I received any official letter inviting me and my colleagues for a meeting. We are not interested in deciding who gets the job but we would ask our works department to be part of supervision to ensure that quality is adhered to at all times. I say this so that you don’t make the mistakes of the past.”
He said the Commission had not treated Cross River State fairly, saying “In sociology, any child who has very little and the other one has more, a mother is allowed to take from the one that has more and give to the one that has little.
“In NDDC, it is the states that have more money that are allocated bigger projects. It is not African. It is inhuman, and in all honesty, we have structured a society for aggressive rebellion. Cross River has a land mass of over 21,000 square kilometers, yet we have been excluded by the NDDC from its original philosophy of making a prosperity agenda for the region.
“It is so sad that at the height of kidnapping and all the criminality in the Niger Delta, Operation Delta Safe was mobilized to all the states except Cross River. So, all the militants now found Cross River a safe haven.
“This once peaceful, beautiful state suddenly became safe haven for militants and kidnappers to inhabit. The basis was that there were no pipelines in Cross River. So, as a government, we now place premium on oil over blood. Africa has never shown this kind of disdain to a weaker brother,” he stated.