Niger Delta Minister delivers 2017 stewardship report amid encomium

  • Completes technical audit of 400 projects
  • East West Road projects at advanced stages of completion
  • As FG empowers over 1000 non-militants

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani received standing ovation for efforts made by government to develop the Niger Delta region.  He discussed efforts of his ministry in categories ranging from audit of over four hundred infrastructure projects, efforts in security and sustainable peace, policy reform, healthcare, training and empowerment of youths, and engagement of relevant stakeholders to address problems of the region, among others.

Francis Kadiri reports that the minister further assured of the commitment of the Buhari administration to ensure multifaceted development of the region.

The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has made significant progress in the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region, and will continue to bring fresh hope to the region by correcting the ills of the past, while prioritising the development of the region, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru Usani has said.

The Minister who gave the assurance at the 2017 Ministerial Press Conference in Abuja said Section One of the East-West Road has been completed, while sections 2, 3 and 4 have reached advanced stages of completion, adding that section 5 is being redesigned for commencement of work.

He said the ministry of Niger Delta Affairs is collaborating with the nine states of the Niger Delta region to establish an industrial park in each of the states in the region. “Modalities are being worked out for the commencement of the project,” he added.

Discussing the efforts of the Federal Government to boost the economy of the region, the minister said: “The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs is driving the presidential initiative on diversification of the economy and resuscitation of moribund industries in the region and Enugu state,” adding that the initiative aims to provide jobs while creating ample wealth for people.

To this end, Usani said the Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture, Nigeria Export Import Bank and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development will provide funding support for interested investors in the quest for revival of moribund industries in the region. He explained that the federal and state governments as well as investors are already collaborating for the successful implementation of the strategy.

Discussing the effort of government to provide potable water for inhabitants of the region, the minister explained that the Ministry is facilitating the required 30% counterpart funding to access 2.4 billion naira from the European Union, for execution of a water project in five states of the Niger Delta namely Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Rivers and Akwa Ibom under the Niger Delta Support programme.

Discussing the audit of projects in the region, he said: “The Ministry carried out a technical audit on all projects awarded from 2009 to 2015. The audit provided firsthand information on the over 400 projects of the ministry in the Niger Delta region, to help government take necessary actions.”

According to the minister, over one thousand non militant youths and women of the Niger Delta region have been trained and empowered in various vocations. “One hundred and thirty youths were trained in 2014 in Israel in various aspects of agriculture such as poultry, aquaculture and crop production enterprises while each of them received support fund of one million naira each.”

Commenting on the quick win projects of the administration under 2016/2017, Usani said: “Seven cassava processing plants have been competed, inaugurated and handed over to the benefitting communities on Ondo, Abia, Imo, Bayelsa, Rivers and Cross River states.

He further said plans are being made to establish no less than one cassava processing plant in each of the 27 senatorial districts of the Niger delta region, adding that the effort aims to minimize drudgery in the processing of cassava as well as encourage value chain and boost production.

“The essence of these projects is to generate employment opportunities for the youths and women in the various benefiting communities in the Niger Delta region, it will also enhance productivity in the agriculture value chains,” he said.

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