Sylvester Idowu in Warri
Warri Ijaw Peace Monitoring Group (WIPMG), the Ijaw elite group, yesterday tasked President Muhammadu Buhari to activate the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) at Ogidigben in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State to generate employment and stem militancy in the Niger Delta region.
The group recalled that ex-President, Goodluck Jonathan, had performed the groudbreaking ceremony of the project which would have created employment for millions of Nigerians during this recession period the nation is going through.
According to a statement signed by the Chairman of WIPMG, Chief Patrick Bigha, the EPZ which was commenced by President Jonathan had two components of Gas City at Ogidigben and Deep Seaport at Gbaramatu to address the issue of unemployment in this economic hardship being faced by Nigerians.
“President Buhari should urgently order resumption of work at the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) in Escravos, Warri South West Local Government Area Delta State, which as we write now, the land for both components of the project is ready to start construction and coupling of machines.
“It would be recalled that during the groundbreaking ceremony performed by President Jonathan on March 26, 2015, the drivers of the project did say that the project would engage 150,000 work force at the construction level and 5,000,000 work force at the completion of the project.
“No doubt this is a project that will totally reduce unemployment t in this part of the country. This is the time for this project to continue as it will help to reduce the effects of the current economic hardship Nigerians are going through,” he said.
Bigha recalled that the beauty of the project was that it was private sector driven since the federal government would not spend any money on the project.
“What is expected from the government is just to provide the enabling environment for the private investors, which the two ethnic groups have promised before the inauguration of the present administration.
“The resumption of work will also address the issue of the Niger Delta militancy resurgence as most of the youths including those who had had skilled training from the presidential amnesty programme will be engaged in the project.
“By then, no one will be left to make trouble in the region. It will also address the incessant quarrelling between the Ijaws and the Itsekiris as sometimes idleness is the cause of such quarrel.
“To this end, it is our sincere and humble advice to the president to urgently order the necessary bodies to activate the project to address the issue of economic recession and unemployment in our country,” he added.