Nigeria's Survival Rests With N'Delta - UN Rep
Make no mistake about it, Nigeria owes her survival to resources in the Niger Delta, the outgoing United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) country director in Nigeria, Ms. Ade Mamonyane Lekoetje ,has said.
Lekoetje, who is from Lesotho, said on Friday that over 80 percent natural resources needed for the development of both the local and regional economies are domiciled in the region.
Lekoetje spoke at a party organised by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs in her honour.
According to her, as one of the world's important wetland and coastal marine ecosystem, the Niger Delta should be protected and its recovery and economic development made a national priority.
The UNDP boss said, 'For me and for most Nigerians, Niger Delta is very important region because, as they say, they are the goose that lays the golden eggs. And if the goose and the eggs laid are not taken care of, Nigeria would not be what it is or aspires to be.
'This advice is on the grounds that most revenue for development and wellbeing of this nation comes from that region. So, efforts to ensure that the people within the Niger Delta region are well looked after. Ensuring that they get the benefits of what God endowed on the country, which they are the custodians, should be our major concern.'
She also urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to promote national unity by working towards conducting free, fair and transparent 2015 elections.
Lekoetje further buttressed the need for a united Nigeria, saying: 'It is also very important that we have peace in this region and the nation in general. It is on this basis that the UNDP in 2009 supported the preparation of the marshal plan that ushered in the amnesty programme to curb the insurgence of militancy.'
Enumerating UNDP's achievements under her watch, she explained that the body had concluded human rights impact discussions with major stakeholder like the ministries of petroleum and environment to clean up the oil contamination caused by gas flaring in order to enhance the livelihood of the people around
In his response, the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe expressed optimism that the forthcoming 2015 elections would be devoid of crisis as the one man, one vote slogan would count just as he insisted that Nigeria would remain a united entity that cannot be compromised by any individual nor group.
Orubebe also commended her instrumental role in coordinating activities of all development partners and the collaborative framework which later culminated in the design of the recently launched Niger Delta Action Plan.