The Niger Delta region more than ever before, has the best chance to experience real development under the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari with its change mantra. However, this is possible only if the leadership of the Niger Delta Affairs Ministry, under Pastor Uguru Usani, pursues the comprehensive implementation of the Niger Delta Master plan.
Director of Development and Leadership Institute, Olaoshebikan Clement, made this submission at a forum in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital recently, while reviewing development issues on how to rapidly achieve meaningful development in the Niger Delta region.
According to the director of the civil society group, real development can be achieved with the implementation of the Niger Delta Master plan. This can be realised if leadership in the region led by that of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, pursues the resolution of the implementation of several policy issues that have yet remained unresolved in the region.
He said “as a matter of urgency, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani, should begin the process of achieving real development in the Niger Delta, by focusing on resolving the implementation of the four key policy issues which have for a long time remained a sore thumb in the region.”
He declared that expectations are high in the region, with the election of the Buhari administration and its change mantra. “Leadership of the ministry must therefore move away from the failure of the past and sincerely focus on implementation rather than the formulation of new policies.”
The minister in his opinion should seize the moment and work with other agencies of government at all levels to focus on the implementation of four key policies in the region.
These issues Clement insisted are the “comprehensive implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Report recommendations on Ogoniland and the extension of key recommendations of the report relating to environmental pollution and degradation to other areas in the Niger Delta region.
And then importantly is the Comprehensive unveiling of the Niger Delta Master plan, as well as the Passing into law of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB)”.
Clement therefore urged, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs under the new Minister Usani, to work with other Agencies of government at the federal and state levels in the Niger Delta region, to realise the resolution of these issues and begin the process of real development in the region.
“He should ensure that these issues are quickly resolved to enable the creation of sustainable empowerment programmes that will improve rural livelihoods, as well as embark on aggressive environmental awareness campaigns.”
This Clement further noted, “will reduce the prevalence of high level of poverty and also enhance environmental awareness and conservation among rural dwellers in the region
“This can be achieved by first ensuring as a matter of urgency the immediate implementation of the Ledum Metee Committee Report as well as the UNEP Report and the unveiling of the Niger Delta Master Plan.
The yet to be unveiled document which is a comprehensive regional blueprint for the sustainable development of the area, with objectives that embrace economic growth, infrastructure development, communities peculiar needs, and environmental preservation for the development of the oil rich region.
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