The Niger Delta Development Commission is a federal government agency established by Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo in the year 2000 with the sole mandate of developing the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria. In September 2008, President Umaru Yar'Adua announced the formation of a Niger Delta Ministry, with the Niger Delta Development Commission to become a parastatal under the ministry.
The NDDC was created largely as a response to the demands of the population of the Niger Delta, a populous area inhabited by a diversity of minority ethnic groups. During the 1990s these ethnic groups, most notably the Ijaw and the Ogoni established organisations to confront the Nigerian government and multinational oil companies such as Shell. The minorities of the Niger Delta have continued to agitate and articulate demands for greater autonomy and control of the area's petroleum resources. They justify their grievances by reference to the extensive environmental degradation and pollution from oil activities that have occurred in the region since the late 1950s. However, the minority communities of oil producing areas have received little or no currency from the oil industry and environmental remediation measures are limited and negligible. The region is highly underdeveloped and is poor even by Nigeria's standards for quality of life.
Sometimes violent confrontation with the state and oil companies, as well as with other communities has constrained oil production as disaffected youth or organisations deliberately disrupt oil operations in attempts to effect change. These disruptions have been extremely costly to the Nigerian oil industry, and both the multinationals and the federal government have vested interests in permitting uninterrupted extraction operations; the NDDC is a result of these concerns and is an attempt to satisfy the demands of the delta's population.
THE NDDC MANDATE
•Formulation of policies and guidelines for the development of the Niger Delta area.
•Conception, planning and implementation, in accordance with set rules and regulations, of projects and programs for sustainable development of the Niger Delta area in the field of transportation including roads, jetties and waterways, health, employment, industrialization, agriculture and fisheries, housing and urban development, water supply, electricity and telecommunications.
•Surveying the Niger Delta in order to ascertain measures necessary to promote its physical and socio-economic development.
•Preparing master plans and schemes designed to promote the physical development of the Niger Delta region and the estimation of the member states of the Commission.
•Implementation of all the measures approved for the development of the Niger Delta region by the Federal Government and the states of the Commission.
•Identify factors inhibiting the development of the Niger Delta region and assisting the member states in the formulation and implementation of policies to ensure sound and efficient management of the resources of the Niger Delta region.
•Assessing and reporting on any project being funded or carried out in the region by oil and gas companies and any other company, including non-governmental organizations, as well as ensuring that funds released for such projects are properly utilized.
•Tackling ecological and environmental problems that arise from the exploration of oil mineral in the Niger Delta region and advising the Federal Government and the member states on the prevention and control of oil spillages, gas flaring and environmental pollution.
•Liaising with the various oil mineral and gas prospecting and producing companies on all matters of pollution, prevention and control.
•Executing such other works and performing such other functions, which in the option of the Commission are required for the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region and its people
The position of Executive Chairman of the NDDC has been a subject of much debate. A compromise was reached where the position would be rotated within the nine oil producing states in alphabetical order: Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers.