- Lists increased budgetary allocation, maritime university, Ogoni clean up, modular refineries, infrastructure, others as dividends
- You will benefit from wealth of your land, he assures
The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo says the Buhari administration has taken actions to underscore its commitment to the people of the Niger Delta region stating that in line with its new vision for the region, the administration is working hard to ensure that the people of the region benefit maximally from the wealth of their land.
While saying government ensured increased budgetary allocation to the Niger Delta Ministry and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), he said the take off-the of Maritime University in Delta State, commencement of Ogoni clean-up and various investments in infrastructure particularly the Bonny – Bodo road and Ibaka Deep Sea Port are some of the landmarks of the administration in the region.
The Vice President further disclosed that the administration has approved the establishment of modular refineries and an export processing zone in Delta State as well as presidential amnesty programme as a show of commitment to the development of the region.
Osinbajo, who made this known to our correspondent through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, noted that budgetary allocation to the Niger Delta Ministry is expected to increase from N34.20 billion of 2017 to53.89 billion allocated in the 2018 budget, adding that N71.20 billion is allocated to the NDDC in the 2018 budget.
While saying that the new Maritime University in Okerenkoko, Delta State, has now commenced operations, inviting job applications for academic staff, he disclosed that the Buhari administration recently approved an increase in the take-off grant from two billion naira earlier announced to five billion naira, stating that the sum was included in the 2018 budget presented to the National Assembly earlier this week, under the Federal Ministry of Education allocation.
Academic activities are expected to start in the university soon following the completion of the hiring process for professors, readers, senior lecturers, lecturers, assistant, assistant lecturers and graduate assistants to teach in the faculties of Science, Maritime Transportation, Maritime Engineering and Technology, Maritime Environmental Management and General Studies.”
“The take-off of the Maritime University was one of the major requests tabled before the Federal Government when the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, went on a series of tour to all the Niger Delta states during the year, following President Buhari’s meeting with leaders of Pan Niger Delta Elders Forum (PANDEF) last November.”
Discussing the significance of the Ogoni Clean up to the Buhari administration, he said: “In June 2016, the Buhari administration started the implementation of the 2011 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoniland devastated by decades of oil spills, consequent upon which an Inter-Ministerial committee on Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP) (under the Federal Ministry of Environment) was established.
“HYPREP has since set up structures in place for the final take off of clean-up and restoration of the region devastated by oil spills. This shows the commitment of the FG to restore the region.
“Eight Companies engaged to conduct demonstration clean-up exercises in the four Local Government Areas of Ogoniland, to enable HYPREP select the best and most suitable technology for the remediation work. These Demonstrations were recently concluded; the results are being studied by the Governing Council of the Ogoni Clean-up Project.”
“Bids have been invited for consultancy on provision of water, health study and environmental remediation.
Discussing the achievements in infrastructure, he said Federal Government has budgeted one billion naira for development of Ibaka deep seaport in Akwa Ibom, adding that the one hundred and twenty billion naira Bonny-Bodo road project was flagged-off in October 2017.
“The 34-kilometre road project, linking Bonny Island to the mainland was first mooted about 40 years ago,” he said adding that the Bonny-Bodo bridge and road projects are being executed under Public Private Partnership arrangement jointly funded by Nigeria LNG and the Federal Government, in which the Federal Government and the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company Limited (NLNG) will each bear fifty percent of the N120.6 billion that it will cost to complete the project.
“When completed, the 34-kilometre road would connect several major communities in the Niger Delta region and boost socio-economic development and improve the lives of people in the Niger Delta region.
Discussing achievements in export processing zone (EPZ), he said Federal Government 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 local government area, Delta State, adding that when fully operational, these projects are expected to boost socio-economic activities and improve the security landscape of the Niger Delta region.
Regarding efforts to establish modular refineries in the Niger Delta region, he said: “The objectives of establishing modular refineries in the Niger Delta region include the following: to create a robust domestic refining sector necessary to meet and exceed the full capacity of national demand, address the proliferation of illegal refineries in the Niger Delta, and attendant environmental degradation, and to provide jobs for unemployed youths in the region.”
Government is also working with Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund (NSWF), Bank of Industry (BOI), AfrExim Bank, and Nigerian Content Development Management Board to address the issue of lack of financial capacity on the part of the local partners who are expected to come up with a minimum of 15% of cost as counterpart funding.
He said the Presidential Amnesty Programme engages ex-militants and youths from the impacted communities in formal education, vocational skills acquisition and empowerment schemes.