Bassey Inyang in Calabar
Leaders and stakeholders in the Niger Delta region have called on the federal government to commence the immediate implementation of the 16-point agenda proposed by the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) early this year for the development of the area.
They also tasked governor from states in the Niger Delta region to show transparency in the management of the recourses that accrue to the people of the area.
They made the call in Calabar at the end of a two-day 7th Niger Delta Dialogue with the theme: â€˜A Revival Dialogue for the Niger Deltaâ€™, held at the Tinapa Business Resort, Calabar, Cross River State from June 29 to June 30, this year.
A 13-point communiquÃ© issued at the end of the meeting which was signed by the Chairman of Niger Delta Dialogue, King Diete Spiff, and made available to journalists, made several demands.
â€œThe urgency of the federal government to take cognizance of the fact that the intervention of various stakeholders in the region particularly held by PANDEF led to the unilateral declaration of sixty days ceasefire in the regionâ€, stressing that â€œThis has since increased oil production levels in the country from 800,000bopd to present value of 2.2million bpd and its implications on revenue increase to the countryâ€, it noted.
The communiquÃ© also called on the federal government â€œto accelerate its dialogue with PANDEF, and commence the immediate implementation of various aspects of the 16 Point Agenda submitted to Mr. President on the 1st of November 2016 to ensure continued peace and security in the regionâ€.
Also, the forum called on â€œthe Governors of the States from the region to show greater commitment to transparent management of resources and implementation of programmes and activities, which will engender more effective growth and development;
â€œCalls for the leadership and people of the region to depart from a â€˜culture of entitlementâ€™ to a culture of devotion to development and â€˜the creation of an integrated regional economyâ€™ as espoused in the NDDC Master Plan.â€
The communiquÃ© expressed â€œThe need for NDDC to return to its original Master Plan i.e., dealing with straddling regional programme rather than undertaking micro community level projectsâ€.
It expressed, â€œThe hope that the work of the present FG inter-ministerial committee will adopt an approach, which is in sync with the 16-point agenda;
â€œNeed to implement regional integrated Master Plan that cascades from the SDGs to the FG perspective plans, to regional and state plans with targets on developmental goals of the areas in all sectors;
â€œNeed for more robust stakeholder engagement for reviewing, updating and revalidating the existing Master Plan; need for the Ministry of the Niger Delta to play a greater leadership and coordinate role on matters pertaining to the finalisation of an integrated Master Plan for the region as well as in driving the development of the region;
â€œNeed to put together a core of professionals with the needed competences to implement plans and ensure continuity; the need for political leaders from the region to work across party lines and individual viewpoints in pursuing matters pertaining to economic future of the Niger Delta;
â€œNeed for the BRACED (Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo, Delta) Commission working together with NDDC to be give the needed support by the Governors and political leaders of the region to play its coordinating role; Calls on Federal Government to focus on overarching and straddling regional infrastructural and economic diversification plansâ€, the communique noted.
Participants at the event included the Obong of Calabar, His Eminence Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V; the Amanayabo of Opobo and Chairman of Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, King Dandeson Jaja of Opobo and other leading traditional rulers, elder statesmen, and leaders of the region, Chairman NDDC, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba; Head of the EU Delegation to Nigeria Ambassador Michel Arrion and his team as well as representatives of EU, UK and the UNDP.