ABUJA (Min of Niger Delta Affairs Report) – The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs (MNDA), is set to strengthen relationship with Donor Agencies and Development Partners to boost the provision of basic infrastructure and social-safety programmes, that will guarantee sustainable peace and development, in the Niger Delta region.
This was disclosed by the Minister, Senator Godswill Akpabio, during a luncheon meeting with Development Partners and Donor Agencies recently, in Abuja.
The meeting which was meant to strengthen the existing collaboration and also appreciate their developmental intervention in the region, saw the Minister calling on the Developing Partners and the Donor Agencies to inject more funds into the region either by direct investment, grants or through collaboration with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Ministry.
He said the Ministry needs technical support to take the region out of poverty and redirect the people in cleaning up of the environment, remediation and oil spills prevention and management, pollution of the air and land and in the management of concomitant diseases, that come as a result of oil exploration and exploitation.
Other areas that need technical assistance according to the Minster, are in the provision of better health care facilities, provision of potable water supply, construction of good roads and the creation of employment opportunities, so that the youths will not go back to militancy.
He decried a situation in which Nigerian population is galloping while the opportunities for development is diminishing, adding that the Ministry is committed to ensuring that education is upmost in the mind of the people and improvement of the Agricultural sector for food security in the region.
He said the Ministry has been in discussion with the United Nation Development Programme UNDP, World Bank, European Union (EU) and other development partners for grants assistance in order to fund critical developmental activities in the Niger Delta Region.
He noted that the current administration is determined to change the narrative of the region through fundamental reforms aimed at repositioning developing efforts to ensure resources deployed in the region are well utilized.
In his remarks, the Minister of State, Senator Omotayo Alasodura, encouraged the Development Partners and Donor Agencies to continue to play very active roles in ensuring a peaceful and prosperous Niger Delta Region which is sine qua non for the development of the region and for sustained national development.
Senator Alasodura noted that the partnership framework will include the Oil and Gas Industry adding that the Ministry will be working with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources for this purpose.
He said that the Ministry is committed to transparent and accountable governance with regards to resources and efforts deployed to develop the region.
Earlier in her remarks, The Permanent Sectary of the Ministry, Mrs. Didi Walson- Jack, said that the aim of the meeting was for the Minister to brief the Donor Agencies, representatives of Heads of Governments, Development Partners, International Oil Companies (IOCs) of the new administration’s vision with regards to Niger Delta stabilization and development.
She added that the role of the Ministry is to coordinate the development in the Niger Delta region as well as to solicit possible areas of collaboration and partnership with the Development Partners and Donor Agencies.
She therefore encouraged the Donor Agencies and all major stakeholders, to support and collaborate with the Ministry to add value to the efforts of government.
Mrs. Walson-Jack said, “The tasks of developing the region are enormous but not insurmountable with joint commitments and efforts, we can make meaningful impact”.
The Deputy Chief of Missions, US Embassy, Kathieen Fitz Gibba who also spoke, said that the US will continue to give financial and technical assistance to all developmental programmes in the region.
Team Leader, Niger Delta Stabilization Programme, Alex Sewell said that the meeting was a laudable attempt to make a complex programme easy to manage. Adding that, the SDN is coordinating data with the help of the Ministry and other department for the development of the region.
Representative of UN, Canadian High Commission, Netherland and UNDP amongst others were in attendance.
DD (Press and PR)