The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio has solicited the support of stakeholders for the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes geared towards the general well-being of the Niger Deltans as well as encourage rapid socio- economic development of the region.
The Minister disclosed this at the opening Ceremony of the 4th National Council on Niger Delta region with the theme: “Achieving Uncommon Development in the Niger Delta: The roadmap and Strategy” held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, at the weekend.
He said the Ministry seeks to partner and collaborate with relevant agencies, development partners and stakeholders on investment, infrastructure and institutional capacity development to enhance synergy amongst stakeholders; explaining that the Ministry has initiated the process of harmonization of the Niger Delta Action Plan of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as well as other existing Developmental plans of the region into a Single Regional Plan for the region.
Speaking further, Sen. Akpabio stated that the Ministry has taken steps towards repositioning the NDDC to achieve its original mandate, adding that the ongoing Forensic Audit exercise recently approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) is aimed at achieving optional utilization of funds and the provision of landmark infrastructure in the region.
In his words: “Provision has been made in the 2021 budget estimates towards the completion of the East-West road, which is the flagship project of the Ministry.
“There is no doubt that countless achievements have been recorded in the region in the area of socio-economic development, capacity developments of youths, construction of housing estates, provision of schools, hospitals, electricity and pipe-borne water in many Communities.
The Government is committed to sustaining these gains and even do more to improve the living conditions of the people of the region”, he added.
Earlier, the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, represented by Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, the Deputy Governor of Rivers State, stated that the Niger Delta region has experienced minimal level of progress as a result of limited resources and technical capacity which has affected the people of the region negatively.
According to him, NDDC and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs have been established as intervention agencies to assuage the yearnings of the Niger Deltans and to drive and meet the developmental needs of the region.
He believed that the wisdom behind the establishment of the National Council on Niger Delta as a platform for the leaders and stakeholders of the region, is to deliberate and work together to find sustainable solution to the challenges confronting the region.
Nyesom added that “though the development crisis in the region is huge and expensive, what is consoling however, is the fact that with the right approach and political will, the region can possible overcome all challenges and realize a new and bright era of sustainable development and prosperity for the region and the people.
The Governor posited that the starting point to tackling the challenges in the region is to articulate a common economic growth and development vision for the region, followed by an ambitious and collectively owned regional development plan and the effective mobilization of resources from all possible sources within and outside the region to drive the realization of the common vision.
He maintained that “working together with the people for the common purpose remains the key for the progressive path we all want and wish for our region and people”.
In his remarks, the Minister of State, MNDA, Senator Omotayo Alasoadura stated that the Ministry will not relent in its commitment to the development and empowerment of its people in order to enhance the peace and stability of the region.