Nothing To Show For $40bn Spent On Niger Delta In 12 Years – Kachikwu
SAN FRANCISCO, August 26, (THEWILL) – The Minister of state for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has disclosed that over $40 billion accrued to the Niger Delta region in the past 12 years through various intervention agencies, regretting however that there was nothing on ground to justify such huge amount.
He made this known on Friday at a meeting held at PTI Conference Centre in Warri, Delta State involving prominent leaders from the coastal states, including representatives of the various ethnic groups, Isoko, Ijaw, Urhobo, Itsekiri, Ibiobio and others.
The meeting was convened by Ijaw National leader, Chief Edwin Clark in reaction to last Thursday visit to the minister by traditional rulers from the Ijaw ethnic nationality .
Kachikwu explained that the $40 billion came mainly from oil companies, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, 13% derivation and other intervention funds, and demanded an audit of money so far expended in the region to know what exactly went wrong to avoid repeating the same mistakes.
He maintained that the state of infrastructure is disappointing despite the huge effort to alleviate the infrastructural deficit in the Niger Delta, adding that, “I've been to the creeks myself and discovered that there was no meaningful development of the riverine communities as expected by the federal government despite the huge amount disbursed to the region.
“I think we need an audit because it will not be wise to have agitation of this kind in circle after each agitation will come back again to demand for the same thing when intervention funds had made no impact on the lives of the ordinary people.”
The minister also used the forum to assure leaders of the zone that President Muhammadu Buhari was not thinking of using the military to resolve the crisis in the region.
Instead, he maintained that the President was desirous of using dialogue to find a lasting solution to the problem.
He called on the leaders to prevail on their youths to allow peace to reign in the region noting that no meaningful development can take place in an atmosphere of violence.
Kachikwu also told the Niger Delta leaders that the federal government was committed to the development of the region promising to come out soon with short and long term plans in that direction.
Clark had told the minister that he should no longer entertain any group or groups that visited him under the guise of the Niger Delta struggle without asking them whether they had the permission of their leaders.
He said the Ijaw monarchs who visited the minister caused great embarrassment for him as other ethnic groups thought the struggle was that of Ijaws.