Acquires 2,430 hectares for the projects As affected states begin common investment drive
Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
To stimulate economic development in nine oil producing states, the Federal Government has acquired 270 hectares of land in each of the states for the creation of industrial parks.
Already, the nine oil-producing states have commenced a partnership initiative for a common investment drive aimed at stimulating economic growth and employment generation.
The states are Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers.
The common investment partnership, which is an initiative of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, is to be driven by a shared development module.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, unveiled the initiative while briefing journalists at the end of a peace meeting at the Akwa Ibom State Government House, Uyo weekend.
Present at the meeting were the state Governor, Udo Emmanuel; Deputy Governor of Delta State, Stanley Otuaro, as well as the development partners/investors, including the European Union (EU), United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), and Broadbased Communications Limited, among others.
The minister disclosed that special purpose vehicles (SPVs) were to be put in place to create ventures that would positively impact the states in the region in various sectors, including telecommunications, housing, community development, agriculture, and manpower development, among others.
Broadbased Communications Limited, the minister disclosed, will for instance, drive a fibre optic broadband infrastructure highway revolution in the states via a shared development module.
This would provide broadband access aimed at impacting various sectors, including healthcare, education and agriculture, among others.
Usani stated that many organisations and development partners had been working in the region without fully involving the states, adding that it was time to synergise efforts with every relevant agency involved in the affairs of the ministry for an integrated development of the states.
He said it was imperative to foster effective collaboration, particularly with the resurgence of recent violent agitations by new militant groups and other criminal elements in the region.
Usani said his ministry was giving priority attention to the development and security of the region.
“In doing this, the ministry has the mission to formulate and execute plans, programmes and other initiatives as well as coordinate the activities of the agencies,” he said, adding that the region has been bedeviled by security challenges arising from gap in job creation, poverty, hunger, environmental degradation, neglect and perceived discrimination.
“We are gathered here today to deliberate and chart a new course that will ensure relative peace.
“Government is desirous of dialogue with stakeholders on a way forward as the expectation are that the nagging security issues will be thrown up and comprehensively addressed,” the minister said
“Over 200 youths from the region benefited from mobile phone assemblage in Calabar, as we speak now, over 60 youths are undergoing training in the same skill in Calabar and will soon graduate,” he disclosed.
He said the ministry had embarked on the provision of infrastructure such as the construction of roads, water supply that have not only built capacity in water management and maintenance but are also in collaboration with five states in the region.
The minister applauded the development partners for their continuous supports in the face of insecurity and paucity of funds in the region.