The Acting President Professor Yemi Osinbajo has reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment in rebuilding the Niger Delta region and to also ensure that there’s lasting peace and stability in the region, through active development initiatives.
The Acting President stated this during his one-day working visit to Imo state, the first since elected as the Vice President and in acting capacity as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The visit is part of his familiarisation tour and consultation with oil producing communities in the Niger Delta region of the country, in a bid to achieving lasting peace and stabilisation in the region.
The President was accompanied by the Minister of Transport, his counterparts in Power and Niger Delta Affairs as well as the Special Adviser to the President on Amnesty.
His first point of call was the palace of the Chairman of the Imo state council of traditional rulers Eze Agunwa Ohiri, afterwards, the Vice President entered into a stakeholders and town hall meeting with indigenes of the state after his visit to Ohaji Egbema and Oguta Local Government Area.
The stakeholders in the oil producing areas of the state, as well as ex-agitators from the region were given opportunities to express their minds to the Acting President, with lots of complaints revolving around marginalisation and neglect of the oil producing communities in Imo state by the Federal Government.
One of the stakeholders from the region Cletus Ohale, says “The problem of the Niger delta region is more spiritual than physical, I don’t understand how the goose that lays the golden egg will continue to suffer.
“ We have been marginalised and neglected for too long, most of the allocations meant for our people are being diverted to non-oil producing areas, appointments meant for our people are being diverted, even in the budgetary system of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Imo state, the 4th largest oil producer in the Niger Delta is being given the lowest allocation, its so unfair” he added.
Meanwhile, the Imo state Governor; Rochas Okorocha while addressing the gathering expressed sadness over the way, the oil producing region has been neglected in the past, he called for the support of the Federal Government’s commitment to the development of the Niger Delta region of the state, especially through the Imo Peace and Reconciliation Committee.
The Governor said “We want to feel the presence of Federal Government more in this state especially in Ohaji Egbema and Oguta oil producing areas of the state, the State government has set up the Peace and Reconciliation Committee to cater for the challenges facing the people of the region and we have budgeted 35 billion Naira at least to wipe away the tears of the people.
“And in this regard, we need the support of the Federal Government of Nigeria, we thank you for the approval made on the abandoned skills acquisition centre, which will soon be converted to a Federal College of Technology, and the immediate revisit of the Egbema Power Plant which will ensure that Imo state and the entire southeast get uninterrupted power supply”
In his speech, the Acting President Professor Yemi Osinbajo reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government in rebuilding the Niger Delta region and ensuring that there is a lasting peace and stability in the region through active development initiatives.
While assuring the people that the Federal Government will complete all abandoned and ongoing projects in the region, He promised that the Federal Government will sanction all contractors who have been mobilised to ensuring the projects are completed.
“The Federal Government is committed to ensuring that the Niger Delta region is given a face lift, we cannot continue with the old ways of doing things, bombing of pipelines is not the solution, the Buhari-led administration has mapped out several programmes that will touch directly the people in the grassroots, for example the N-power programme for youth employment, the micro credit scheme for market women and we are also collaborating with private sector, civil societies, state governments and other stakeholders to bring meaningful development to the people of the Niger Delta region”.
The One-day working visit of the Acting President also availed him the opportunity to commission some of the projects executed by the Imo State Government, one of which is the Imo State Government House Chapel.