Groups of Ex-Niger Delta agitators, under the auspices of a coalition of Niger Delta Civil Society Organisations, have called on President Bola Tinubu and Senate President Godswill Akpabio, to intervene in the alleged insufficient budgetary allocations for the Ministry of Niger Delta Development.
The Niger Delta group made this call during a courtesy visit to the MNDD, Hon. Abubakar Momoh, in his office in Abuja.
According to the group, the allocation of only N10 billion to a ministry responsible for overseeing nine states was grossly inadequate.
The coalition however appealed to the government, to take appropriate action to address the trend.
The Media Aide to Hon. Momoh, John Mayaki in a statement, quoted the group’s spokesperson, Comrade Opuma Joseph saying: “We are well aware of the inadequate budget allocation for the Ministry of Niger Delta Development and the mismanagement of resources.
“We intend to approach Mr. President and the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to make a case for an increase in the budget allocation.
“With only N10 billion allocated in the budget for a ministry responsible for nine states, this amount is insufficient to address the needs of the region. We are determined to seek the intervention of the President and the Senate President in this matter because this ministry was established to address environmental challenges, youth empowerment and engagement, and to bridge the gap of underdevelopment in the region.
“I want to inform you that we are here to engage with you and acquaint ourselves with your work. The other issue is that the East-West Road is a major challenge for those of us in the Niger Delta.
“If that’s the only achievement you can fulfil for us during your tenure as minister, you will leave a lasting legacy. On the issue of empowerment, we request that you consider us whenever you have the resources to implement it.
“We also want to commend you for personally visiting our royal fathers in the Niger Delta and ex-agitators. I was delighted when I saw you embark on that visit.”
However, the minister in his response, expressed appreciation for the group, saying: “I listened attentively to your speech, and I must say I was deeply moved. In the 2024 budget, we will do our best to accommodate as many initiatives as possible.
“I am not perturbed because we are in the process of creating a new budget, and we will include whatever we deem necessary to do.
“I appreciate your comments concerning the ministry’s budget. We already have one of our own who serves as the Senate President and understands the issues, having been a former minister in this ministry. If the ministry’s budget is enhanced, it will benefit all of us.
“Unfortunately, the problems in the Niger Delta have often been caused by Niger Deltans themselves. The government has made efforts by establishing various institutions and agencies to assist the region.
“With the Renewed Hope Agenda and the 8 presidential priorities under the leadership of President Bola Tinubu, things are expected to improve for the better.”