Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Niger Delta stakeholders have urged the Federal Government to redouble its effort towards the development of the Niger Delta region.
The call by the stakeholders came despite efforts by the Federal Government to develop the Niger Delta region through various initiatives.
Director of Press, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Marshall Gundu, in a statement made available to Daily Sun, in Abuja, said “there are still calls for more to be done in order to move the region to its desired level of development.”
The calls, Gundu added, “are on the realization that the level of development in the Niger Delta region does not commensurate with the huge investments that have been poured into it, over the years.
“This appeared to be the opinion of stakeholders at the opening ceremony of the 3rd National Council on Niger Delta, being hosted by the Abia State Government.”
While declaring the National Council open on Monday in Umuahia, Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, represented by his Deputy, Ude Oko Chukwu, said the development of the Niger Delta region was crucial to the peace and development of the country.
Ikpeazu added that the Council’s theme: ‘Fostering Synergy and Institutional Coordination for Development in the Niger Delta Region,’ was apt as it provided stakeholders room to deliberate on ways to attract the much needed development to the region.
Ikpeazu called on the Federal Government to evolve ways of completing the numerous abandoned projects in his state as it was crucial to the region.
According to Ikpeazu, “whatever happens to Abia state affects the entire Niger Delta region.”
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Aminu Aliyu Bisalla, said the duplication of projects caused by lack of synergy among development agencies is one of the challenges delaying the pace of development in the region.
Bisalla expressed hope that the council will provide a veritable forum for synergy among critical stakeholders and development partners in the Niger Delta region with the aim of fast-tracking the desired growth and development.
He added that the Ministry, as a coordinator of development initiatives in the Niger Delta region was ‘very responsive and eager to listen and receive fresh ideas and recommendations that will emerge from this meeting.
On his part, the Executive Secretary of Abia State Planning Commission, Ugoeze Adanma Iheuwa, emphasised the need for stakeholders of the Niger Delta region to cooperate in order to encourage the initiation of more developmental projects, as well as foster peace, reduce poverty and create more job opportunities in the region.