Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said on Monday, that Niger Deltans should plan on how to raise funds to tackle challenges in the region.
He also urged Niger Deltas to request from their leaders, account of monies collected from the Federation Account.
He asserted that the development of the region transcended the Federal Government’s efforts alone, but a working partnership between the states and the local governments in collaboration with the private sector, especially the international oil and gas companies.
“From today, I want us to begin to put our state and local government to task on the development of our state. We should begin to ask question how our allocations are being spent on monthly basis before holding the Federal Government responsible for the under-development of the region,” he said.
Osinbajo, who made this assertion in his speech at Oporoza, the traditional headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area, during his fact-finding visit to the state on how to sustain peace in the region, noted that without the concerted efforts of all stakeholders on how to genuinely develop the region, it would be a difficult task to achieve by the Federal Government alone.
According to him, “in as much as I agree that the region needed to be develop, but I sincerely share the view of one of the speaker, Udengs Eradiri, the IYC president, that the Federal Government cannot and would not be able to do it alone. We need the states and the local government to come together in this task of developing the region. In addition to this, it must also be driven by a private sector initiatives, especially the oil and gas companies, as they are also a major stakeholder in the region.
Prof. Osinbajo described his visit to the region as a ‘game changer’, noting that the people would begin to experience changes on the part of the Federal Government in terms of commitment to the development of the region.
He requested for time to enable the government start the process of implementing the 16-point agenda presented to President Muhammadu Buhari by the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) during the November 1, 2016 meeting in Abuja, as government has begun the process of tinkering with the demands to commence implementation in phases.
“This is not time for negotiation as the problem of the region is already clear to everybody. What we need at the moment is to sit down and talk about how to raise funds to address these challenges,” he stated.
Osinbajo told the region to look inward on how to develop its tourism potential, noting that part of the future was tourism considering the climate, environment, calmness, green vegetation, sea area and friendly people.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa admonished the people of Gbaramatu to allow the visit of the vice president to achieve its desired result of bringing about sustainable peace in the region.
“Stakeholders must come together to let peace reign so that the desired development we are looking for can come to the region,” he said.
Eradiri had tasked government to come up with a developmental blueprint for the region so that the issue of restiveness across the region can be laid to rest.
“Obasanjo’s regime came up with coastal state development commission otherwise known as NDDC and the region allowed oil to flow for him to run his government. Yar’Adua came with amnesty and the region allowed oil to flow for him to run his government. Goodluck Jonathan consolidated on this and the region allowed oil to flow for him during his tenure. President Buhari should tell us what developmental blueprint he has for the region so we can allow oil flow for him to run his government,” he declared.
He also pointed out the lopsidedness in the award of oil licences recently, stating that it was the height of injustice that out of about 40 oil licences issued out, no Niger Delta indigene was considered.