The Acting Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, yesterday said that the positive impact of the commission’s infrastructural projects and skills acquisition programmes have helped to curb the incidence of pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta region.
Pondei spoke when he hosted a contingent from the Nigerian Naval War College, led by the Commandant, Rear Admiral Adeseye Ayobanjo, at the NDDC headquarters, Port Harcourt.
The NDDC chief executive officer observed that pipeline vandalism had reduced significantly over the past five years, noting that it had contributed to the economic and social stability of the Niger Delta.
He said this was achieved by engaging the youth through skill acquisition and economic empowerment programmes.
The NDDC, Pondei noted, was established for the specific purpose of addressing agitations that arose from the Niger Delta region, being underdeveloped.
He said: “Over the years, there have been training programmes that have ab sorbed the youth and the current focus at the NDDC is to expand these training programmes to keep the youth away from pipeline vandalism and other crimes.”
Pondei further said that it was not the job of the NDDC to engage in pipeline security and surveillance, stating that the commission was rather focused on interventionists’ programmes, which ensured stability in the region.
The NDDC boss explained that such interventionists’ programmes included skills acquisition programmes, as well as post-graduate scholarships covering masters and doctorate degrees for youths of the Niger Delta region.
He said the commission was looking at proposals to extend its scholarship scheme to undergraduates in Nigerian universities. Earlier, Commandant of the Nigerian Naval War College, Rear Admiral Ayobanjo, said the Warfare Course 4 participants were on a study tour of key stakeholders that impacted on the security and stability of the Niger Delta region.
He said the theme of the course was; “Curbing Pipeline Vandalism; Towards Enhancing Socioeconomic Development in Rivers State,” Ayobanjo commended the NDDC for its critical role in the security of the region.
In his remarks, NDDC Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Mr. Effiong Akwa, said winning the war against criminality entailed using the right strategy, because according to him, “real victory in warfare is obtained not by firing shots, but by understanding and dialogue.
“Visiting the NDDC and other stakeholders will enable you to achieve real victory without firing a shot; stopping the pipeline vandals without necessarily waiting for them to do the damage first.”