The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has disclosed that more than $40 billion had been dolled out 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 amount.
Kachikwu, who spoke yesterday at a meeting held at PTI Conference Centre in Warri, Delta State involving prominent leaders from the coastal states, said the $40 billion came mainly from oil companies, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, 13% derivation and other intervention funds.
While noting that the state of infrastructure is disappointing despite the huge effort to alleviate the infrastructural deficit in the Niger Delta, he called for an audit of money so far expended in the region to know what exactly went wrong to avoid repeating the same mistakes.
According to him, “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.
The minister urged leaders in the region to prevail on their youths to allow peace to reign, noting that no meaningful development can take place in an atmosphere of violence.
He 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.