Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has emphasised the need to collaborate with civil society organisations (CSOs), to develop the Niger Delta region.

Speaking during a courtesy visit by a coalition of CSOs to the commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, the NDDC Managing Director, Samuel Ogbuku, remarked that the concerns about the well-being of Niger Deltans were mutual.

Ogbuku said the NDDC would create a platform for regular interaction with stakeholders, including civil society groups, for engagements that would advance the course of development in Nigeria’s oil-rich region.

He said: “The need for collaboration with CSOs cannot be overemphasised. The NDDC needs to collaborate with CSOs. We face common problems. So, we must put heads together to work out ways to solve these problems. We are here to serve the people of the Niger Delta and our doors are open for collaboration.

“We can share ideas on how to make the NDDC and the Niger Delta region a better place. I believe there should be quarterly meetings between the NDDC and CSOs. We are here to serve the people of the Niger Delta region and Nigeria.” 

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Ogbuku urged the CSOs to contribute their quota in the process of development, saying: “We need your cooperation and collaboration. You must also understand our challenges and realise that your role does not end with criticism. CSOs should set up structures and help government agencies to succeed.” 

Eearlier, Executive Director, National Civil Society Council of Nigeria, Blessing Akinlositu, said the responsibility of CSOs is to monitor public governance and ensure government officials do what is right for the people.

He commended the NDDC for its various interventions in the Niger Delta region, stating that the commission had done well over the years. He said, however, more could still be done.

“We seek a viable partnership with the NDDC. We want a close relationship with the NDDC. There is a need to have an NDDC-CSOs’ forum. It may be quarterly or bi-monthly. What is needed is collaboration with CSOs,” he said.