Last updated on August 30th, 2023 at 09:36 am
Who is the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs?
The incumbent Minister of Niger Delta Development is Mr Abubkar Momoh (from Edo State). He was redeployed from the Ministry of Youth to Niger Delta Ministry on Sunday, August 20, 2023.
The ministry which has been renamed Niger Delta Development was initially omitted when President Bola Tinubu assigned portfolios on Wednesday, August 16, 2023, but calls by Niger Delta elders restored the ministry four days after releasing the list of new and modified ministries.
The last Minister of the MNDA was Obong Umana Okon Umana during Buhari’s government.
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Some political analysts are saying that Tinubu’s decision not to appoint a minister for Niger Delta affairs may be an indication that he wants to scrap the ministry.
Recalled that Tinubu assigned portfolios to his ministerial nominees on August 16, 2023, but there was no mention of a minister for the Niger Delta ministry.
Before now, some analysts pointed out the overlapping functions, roles, and responsibilities of the ministry with that of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
PANDEF in emergency meeting over ‘scrapping’ of ministry
At the time of updating this article, leaders of the oil-rich region under Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF is meeting in Abuja over the suspected scrapping of the Ministry of the Niger Delta Affairs by the Tinubu-led government.
The National Publicity Secretary of PANDEF, Hon. Ken Robinson, was quoted by Vanguard News as saying, “We saw the list of ministerial nominee and allocation published by the presidency and Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs was missing conspicuously.”
UPDATE: A few hours after PANDEF meeting, Tinubu deployed the Minister of Youth to the Ministry of Niger Delta Development.
When was Niger Delta Affairs Ministry Created?
Late President Umaru Yar’Adua established the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs on September 10, 2008. The ministry reduces the tension in the region, but oil theft persists.
After the creation of the ministry, succeeding presidents – Jonathan and Buhari appointed ministers for the ministry.
One of the core reasons for the creation of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs was the failure of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to meet the goals for which it was created.
NDDC was established on June 5, 2000, by Olusegun Obasanjo, (Nigeria’s president between May 29, 1999, to May 29, 2007) to develop the oil-rich Niger Delta. But it failed in its mandate.
As agitations on the neglect and degradation and attacks on oil facilities continued in the region, President Umaru Yar’Adua announced the creation of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs on September 10, 2008.
MNDA was mandated to develop a road map to develop the region and address all issues of agitations relating to unemployment of the youths and address infrastructural development.
The ministry was basically directed to focus its attention on the development of the states that are oil-producing states of the Niger Delta Region. They are Bayelsa, Cross River, Ondo, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Delta, Edo, and Imo.
The Ministry of Niger Delta began operation and Ufot Ekaette was appointed as the pioneer Minister of Niger Delta Affairs on December 17, 2008 while Godsday Orubebe was announced as Minister of State.
Ministers of Niger Delta Affairs
- Ufot Ekaette: December 17, 2008 to March 17, 2010
- Peter Godsday Orubebe: 6 April 2010-May 29, 2015
- Pastor Usani Uguru: November 11, 2015 to May 28, 2019
- Obong Umana Okon Umana: July 6, 2022 till May 2023
The incumbent Minister of MNDA is Senator Godswill Akpabio, he was appointed on August 21, 2019
Agencies of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs(MNDA)
Those who were following events in the Niger Delta states expected that the NDDC would be moved under the new ministry, but NO. It remained an agency of the Federal Government under the supervision of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
While SGF managed and oversee the operation of the NDDC, MNDA was also running its activities in the same region, sometimes managing conflicting projects while the region remained underdeveloped by its people who had been appointed to manage its affairs.
How NDDC Was Moved To MNDA
Upon appointment and swearing of Pastor Usani Uguru on November 11, 2015, he made a recommendation to President Muhammadu Buhari on why the MNDA should be the one that will be managing the activities of the NDDC in the region since the agency and the ministry have similar mandates.
Though Uguru, a politician from Cross River State, was one of the ministers dropped by Buhari in his second term cabinet, his recommendation was accepted.
And on October 1, 2019, during Nigeria’s Independence Anniversary, Buhari announced that the NDDC had been moved to the Niger Delta Affairs ministry.
So, at the time of this report, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is the only agency being managed by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs
However, MNDA has 13 departments, three units which help it in working towards achieving the goals and mandates of the ministry (we’ll come back to that in later part of this report).
13 Departments in the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs
- Finance and Accounts Department
- Planning, Research and Statistics Department
- Human Resource Management Department
- Community Development and Education
- Infrastructure Department
- Economic Empowerment Department
- Reform Coordination and Service Improvement Department
- Special Duties Department
- General Services Department
- Procurement Department
- Environmental Management Department
- Housing and Urban Development Department
- Internal Audit Department
- Survey and Mapping Unit
- Legal Unit
- Press Unit
Previous Efforts To Address Niger Delta Issues
There had been previous efforts at making sure that the region that provides most of the revenue of the government has programmes and projects put in place as a result of environmental degradation caused by oil exploration in their region.
Some of the agencies that were established include:
- Niger Delta Development Board (1960)- It failed
- Oil Minerals Areas Producing Development Commission (OMPADEC) of 1992 – failed
- Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) – it is failing
10 Core Mandates of Niger Delta Affairs Ministry
The responsibilities of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs are many, but the core functions of the ministry are”
1) To find solutions to development issues in the region.
2) To develop and organise skills acquisition programmes for youths and women as one of the ways to develop human capacity
3) To advise and make recommendations to the federal government regarding security-related issues of the region.
4) To organise and supervise public education programmes through one of its departments Community Development and Education
5) To encourage private sectors in the development of the region.
6) To ensure environmental protection and pollution control through collaboration with exploration companies in the region.
7) To enhance the investment potential of the region through consultation at addressing security issues.
8) To serve as a link between the oil-producing communities in the region and the federal government and other oil stakeholders in the niger delta region
9) To monitor that the projects approved by the federal government in the region are executed
10) To formulate policies and programmes for youth mobilization
11th Floor, Federal Secretariat, Abuja.
Website : nigerdelta.gov.ng
It has nine offices across the Niger Delta region
The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) was established by Olusegun Obasanjo on June 5, 2020, as an agency to deliver projects to the oil-producing Niger Delta region, but NDDC failed as most of the projects were awarded to mostly sons and daughters of the region. Most of them failed to deliver.
To resolve the issues the NDDC couldn’t address, Late President Umaru Yar’Adua established the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs on September 10, 2008, yet the new ministry has not shown any sign that it could do better than the failed NDDC.