FG Seeks Niger Delta Stakeholders’ Support for Region’s Economy
Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt
The federal government has called for the support of key stakeholders in the Niger Delta region on infrastructure and security for improved economy and development of the country.
The Minister for Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi ,made the call, yesterday, during a-two-day Niger Delta Infrastructures Security Summit, organised by the Nigeria Infrastructures and Business Assets Security Group held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital.
Speaking on the theme: “Infrastructure Security: Responsibility in Collective National Interest”, Abdullahi said that the theme of the summit is apt at this period when the FG is trying to focus on resources regularisation of power, oil and gas, transportation, telecommunications and other infrastructures for the collective national interest.
Represented by Executive Officer at Federal Ministry for Environment, Alhaji Mohammed Ali, Abdullahi said Nigeria as major oil producing nation has made huge investment in critical infrastructure in oil and gas industry ranging from exploration, to transport, pipelines among others.
Abdullahi said that the industry had seemingly been challenged by air and water pollution, also limitation of land contamination as well as climate vegetation by oil and gas, third party interference, lost of livelihood and diseases impacted on oil communities.
He commended the organisers of the summit for bringing together the key stakeholders within and outside the region whose mass experience will proffer solutions to the challenges of the infrastructures security in the country.
“Nigeria budgeted over 270 million barrels of national commercial crude oil investment was lost in sabotage between 2015 and 2020 and also an estimated revenue loss of $14.6 billion due to illegal oil operations.
“In 2021, 193 million barrels of crude oil was allegedly recorded in 11 months due to crude oil theft which translated to an estimated $3.5 million of revenue about 10 percent of country’s oil reserves, and also about 3 million litters spilled, over 370 cases within the first three years to illegal oil extraction and artisanal refining”.
According to him, “it is sacrosanct for critical oil and gas infrastructure operators or partners and host communities to adopt duly care and best practices in other to guarantee a lasting solutions to environmental devastation, collective economic losses, safety and security, lost of lives and social infrastructure.”
He solicited for the support of all stakeholders including the oil and gas sectors, the host communities and the Civil Society Organisations in finding the lasting solution to the dilapedation of critical infrastructures.
Abdullahi further urged stakeholders in the security sector and host communities to protect and safe guide their environment to stop oil vandalisation and achieve the intended goals in economic growth.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Obong Umana Umana represented by Dr. Cynthia Eguridu, the Technical Adviser to the Minister, said that the theme of the summit would not have been more appropriate if one cannot think of peace and development in the region,
“And also ensuring that the very structure for sustainable economic growth and development in the region for the collective benefits be safe guided, protected from the risk,abuse or misuse, sabotage and destruction”.
According to him the Niger Delta region constitute 21.4 per cent of the Nigerians population based on 2006 census, stressing that infrastructure security is an individual responsibility that live all embrace collectively for regional and national development.
The Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, said that the summit would be a wake -up call to stakeholders in the oil and gas sector, power, communications, telecommunications and other sectors to guide, protect and preserve all critical infrastructure in the country.
Pantami, who was represented by the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management Nigerian Communications Commission, Mr. Adeleke Adewolu, recalled that over 40,920 cases of fiber optic cable cuts and 1307 cases of theft were recorded in resent time.
He urged all key stakeholders to drive the message of the summit home to the host communities to achieve results, saying that security infrastructure is the responsibility and collective efforts of all Nigerians.