By Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The federal government has listed the take-off of the Maritime University in Delta State, commencement of Ogoni Cleanup project and approval of modular refineries as some of its recent achievements in the region.
It also mentioned the continuation of the Presidential Amnesty Programme and investments in infrastructure and developmental projects in several parts of the in the Niger Delta.
The government noted that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s ‘Niger Delta New Vision’ is designed to develop a new and prosperous Niger Delta through its partnerships with states, the private sector and local communities.
A statement by Mr. Arukaino Umukoro,Special Assistant to the President (Communication Projects/Niger Delta), Office of the Vice President, yesterday noted that the projects underscore the federal government’s renewed zeal to right the wrongs of the past in the oil-producing region.
“President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration had approved an increase in the take-off grant for the Maritime University from the N2bn earlier announced to N5bn,” he said.
The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), umbrella body of traditional rulers, leaders and stakeholders in the region, had a few days ago in Asaba, bemoaned the alleged abandonment of the Strategic Implementation Work Plan (SIWP) for the development of the oil and gas-rich area.
But the statement also said the training of some Ogoni graduates educated in Environmental Sciences to develop capacity for the Cleanup project and the demonstration of technologies in some of the oil impacted areas in Ogoniland, namely Bodo, K-Dere, B-Dere, Korokoro, Kwawa, Nsisioken were some of the ongoing projects.
According to the federal government, establishing modular refineries in the Niger Delta region would also promote socio-economic development and provide jobs for unemployed youths.
It said that this would sustain peaceful coexistence in the region and increase local content, mitigate negative environmental degradation associated with illegal refinery activities, crude oil theft and pipelines vandalism.
“Three modular refinery projects have commenced construction and two modular refineries are expected to be inaugurated by the end of this year” the government added.
Mr Umukoro noted that there are currently thousands of persons enlisted in the amnesty programme which has facilitated the setting up of small and medium scale businesses for over 4,000 ex-militants.
He also mentioned the N120 billion Bonny-Bodo road project, noting that the idea of the 34-kilometre road project, linking Bonny Island to the mainland was first mooted about 40 years ago.
Umukoro said the Federal Government had also approved the establishment of the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) comprising the Gas City Project at Ogidigben, and the Deep Seaport in Gbaramatu, Warri South-West, Delta State.
“When fully operational, these projects are expected to boost socio-economic activities and improve the security landscape of the Niger Delta region” he said.