By Emmanuel Ugw
Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs yesterday said that it was determined to collaborate with all stakeholders to remove every obstacle to the development of the oil bearing region of the country.
Minister of State in the ministry, Senator Omotayo Alasoadura stated this in a keynote address he presented at the peace, security enlightenment and sensitisation programme held at Okeikpe in Ukwa West Local Government Area of Abia State.
He said that the expected transformation of the Niger Delta region “cannot be singlehandedly achieved by any one organisation, individual or agency,” hence the need for collaboration and synergy.
He announced that both the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) would not work at cross purposes since they have a common agenda of fast tracking development of the Niger Delta.
To this end Senator Alasoadura stated that the ministry “will implement programmes to harmonise the existing Niger Delta Action Plan of the Ministry and the Niger Delta Mandate of NDDC into a single development agenda.”
According to him, the process would ensure robust participation of the people from oil producing areas with effect from 2020 fiscal year.
“We will continue to create more opportunities and fora that will facilitate and stimulate the enabling environment for fruitful partnership and act responsively within our mandate for the common good of the people,” he said.
Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu represented by his deputy, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu, said that despite the restiveness that has characterised oil communities the oil producing areas of Abia have been an exception.
“Our youths have been patient and understanding,” he said, adding that the peaceful disposition of Ukwa youths has made easy the jobs of the Niger Delta Ministry in fostering peace and stability in the area.
He called for compensation of Abia’s oil communities for their peacefulness and urged the NDDC “to come and tidy up” ongoing projects in Abia.
The permanent secretary in the Niger Delta Ministry, Olusade Adesola said that the enlightenment programme with the theme, ‘Dialogue, a Panacea for Peace and Development’ was part of the proactive measures to promote peace, stability and security in the Niger Delta region.
Earlier the chairman of Ukwa West Local Government, Chief Sylvanus Nwaji, commended the ministry for taking “a good step in the right direction” by organising the peace dialogue.
He asked the ministry to attend to the needs of oil communities of Ukwa by completing the Niger Delta Housing Estate, skills acquisition centre and the Owaza – Obehie – Azumini – Ukanafor road dualisation project.