Hope Rises For Niger Delta

 Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s successful engagement of stakeholders in the Niger Delta was one of the highlights of his 50 days stint as acting president of Nigeria when President Muhammadu Buhari was away on medical vacation. Based on this, Buhari made him the leader of federal government’s engagement with the Niger Delta and this has calmed the agitation in the creeks and helped Nigeria’s crude oil output back to a high of 2.1 million barrels daily. The recent gains by the Naira are attributed to increased income in dollars from more crude oil sales at an improved global price.

Last Wednesday, the Vice President gave a 30-day ultimatum to all contractors in the region, including those handling Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, projects, to return to site or face prosecution. Prior to this in a meeting of inter-ministerial working group on the Niger Delta, he issued a new set of directives to accelerate the implementation of the administration’s new vision for the development of the Niger Delta. The government directed that the list of all contractors who have not returned to site within the stipulated period be compiled and submitted to the Ministry of Justice and the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC for investigation and prosecution.

Niger Delta Photo

Niger Delta

The government has directed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Niger Delta Development Commission, ministries of Niger Delta Affairs; Environment; Power, Works and Housing to proceed with the design and implementation of work plans in line with the administration’s new vision for the region. 

 Likewise, Ministry of Environment has been mandated “to ensure and report on the progress of the Ogoni Clean-up.” The ministry was also asked to plan for the clean-up of other polluted areas in the oil-producing communities.

The Niger Delta inter-ministerial group comprises officials from the Presidency, all relevant ministries including the Petroleum Resources, Niger Delta Affairs, Environment, Power, Works and Housing and Office of the Presidential Amnesty Programme among other MDAs.

Paul Boroh, a retired brigadier general and special adviser to the President on Niger Delta, said the federal government’s new strategy in the Niger Delta is working. “The visit of the Acting President to the Niger Delta is in phases to cover all Niger Delta states. We have so far visited Akwa Ibom, Edo, Bayelsa, Rivers and Imo states. The next phase will be Cross River, Abia and Ondo states. By that we would have covered the entire Niger Delta states. The last visit to Edo was very explosive. There is a riverine oil producing community in Edo known as Gelegele. The people were prepared to receive the Acting President but due to some reasons, the visit was shelved. If the Acting President had gone there, he would have come back late, which was why he rescheduled and made it clear to them that he would visit the community next time. The people’s concern is that if he had come, he would have seen that the….

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