In a view to guarantee rapid development for the Niger Delta region, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has assured participants at the ongoing National Council on Niger Delta of the determination of the Federal Government to strengthen the Council to carry out it duties optimally and regularly.
‘Since the establishment of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs nine years ago this is just the second council meeting to be convened’. The Vice President added.
The Vice President disclosed this while declaring open the Second National Council on Niger Delta in Akure, Ondo State, on Tuesday.
He reiterated that the Federal Government was doing everything possible for the development of the Niger Delta region, saying that his interaction with stakeholders in the region had acquainted him with the challenges confronting the Niger Delta region. ‘We have decided to disengage from broken-promises of the past,’ he stressed.
Prof. Osinbajo maintained that the Presidential Committee he chaired with the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs as the Vice Chairman had unveiled an implementation work plan for the development of the region.
The Vice President revealed that the Presidential Economic Diversification Initiative Programme was set to revive moribund industries in the region. He also said that the guidelines for the take off of modular refineries in the region has been set.
In the words of the Vice President: “We are training young people to be able to participate in the modular refinery when it takes off.”
In his remarks, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani said that his Ministry was refocusing its attention towards activities that will ensure rabid development of the Niger Delta region.
The Minister noted that Five Million Euros has been approved by the New Partnership for Africa Development ( NEPAD) for the completion of two skills acquisition centres in the Niger Delta region. He also said NEPAD has given the Ministry clearance to attract Ten Million Euro investments in the Niger Delta region.
Pastor Usani reiterated that the Federal Government was committed to the exploitation of bitumen in Ondo State.
He added that everything the Ministry was doing was in consonance with the Federal Government initiative for economic diversification.
The Minister stressed that with the current cordial relationship between the Ministry of Niger Delta Niger Delta and contractors handling some of its projects, efforts were geared towards completing those projects that have direct impacts on the people and residents of the region in the areas of education and health.
In his speech, the Executive Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu thanked the Federal Government for awarding the state operational license for the development of Ilaje Free Trade Zone, as well as oil block license for bitumen exploitation in the state bitumen belt. He added that the Ilaje Free Trade Zone was exclusively for the state and that it would assist the diversification of the economy of the Ondo State through maritime activities.
“We believe that opening our deep sea for economic activities will serve as a tremendous boost. We will therefore request from the Federal Government an approval of license for the establishment of a Deep Sea Mining Port in the Ilaje Free Trade Zone.” Governor Akeredolu emphasised.
The Governor called on the National Council Members on Niger Delta to pay serious attention to issues raised by the state government, saying the people of the Niger Delta region would be grateful if the consequence of this meeting translates to remarkable improvement in their lives.
The Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Prof. Claudius Omoleye Daramola noted that the Federal Government was concerned about the development of the Niger Delta region, saying over four thousand youth of the region have been trained and empowered by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs in the last one year as more are scheduled to be trained subsequently.
Prominent sons and daughters of the Niger Delta region, investors and development partners were in attendance at the Second National Council on Niger Delta, and representatives of the state governments in the Niger Delta region, including the Chairman Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Senator Ndoma Egba, the Managing Director of the Commission, Mr. Nsima Ekere, the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brig. Gen. Paul Boroh (rtd) and traditional rulers in the region.