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FG to create solid, enduring partnership for Niger Delta devt

By The Citizen
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The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani has said that efforts were in place to renew the 'Covenant' between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the people of Niger Delta region in order to create a solid and enduring Partnership for the socio-economic and industrial development of the region.

He added that the new approach will emphasize holistic programmes that will reach out to the millions of weak and vulnerable men, women and children of the Niger Delta.

Pastor  Uguru disclosed  this on Tuesday at a Technical Workshop titled 'Niger Delta Way Forward: From Stabilisation to Sustainable Development,' co-organized by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Presidential Amnesty Programme Office, Federal Ministry of Environment and other development partners  in Abuja.

The Minister said: 'We have gathered here today to forge a clear path for the development of the Niger Delta region and to renew our commitment to an existing covenant between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the men, women and children of the Niger Delta region'

He stated further: 'As we all know, it is a covenant that was written after years of tears and pain. It took years of trauma and unbearable birth pangs for it to finally come to fruition. Out of that covenant,  the  Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs  was created, out of that covenant, the NDDC was established, out of that covenant, the Amnesty Programmer was born; it  was also from within the womb of that covenant that today an Action Plan has been born. We have come here today not only to endorse this Action Plan, but also to take it to another level.'

Pastor Uguru emphasized the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari to bring a fresh hope to the people of Niger Delta region and to correct the ills of the past. The engagement he said 'will no longer be based on deceit.'

'Previous efforts highlighted projects, the new approach will emphasize holistic programmes under which the projects fall. Previous efforts made a few individuals rich, the new approach will bring wealth to the communities. Previous efforts created monsters that were bigger than the communities, the new efforts will cut down these monsters and cause them to submit to their communities. Previous efforts were characterized by corruption and bribery of government officials, the new approach will bring all Stakeholders into a transparent commitment to the development of the Niger Delta region. Previous efforts paid more attention to mega projects like roads and huge buildings   {which were celebrated but half-heartedly implemented}, the new approach will pay considerable attention to projects that will truly empower the people-training, skill acquisition and ethical re orientation,' he reiterated.

Addressing the gathering, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who was represented by Ambassador Yemi Dideolu, urged all stakeholders to mobilize all human and material resources available, to end the challenges of the Niger Delta region.

Other Speakers at the workshop were the Minister of Environment, Hajiya Amina Mohammed, Chairman, Presidential Amnesty Programme and Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Brig. Gen, {rtd.} Paul T. Boroh and the Minister of State for Environment, Alh. Usman Jubril.