Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday in Asaba said that peace remained the lifeline of every economy.
Osinbajo said this at the Nigeria and Entrepreneurship Summit and Honours (NESH) Roundtable with the theme: “Peace and Sustainable Development of Nigeria Oil and Gas Producing Areas”.
The Vice President was represented by Dr Ibe Kachikwu, the Minister of State for Petroleum.
He said that with sustained peace, President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s agenda for diversification of the economy would be quicker to attain.
He said the administration had ensured that host communities in the Niger Delta region collectively engage in process of development of resources located in the areas.
According to him, the theme is apt, particularly in the current clime of our nation.
“Our administration is committed to tackling the prevailing concern of the Niger Delta region.
“We have set ourselves ambitious targets in that direction with very strict timelines.
“The achievement of these target will ensure robust and sustainable development of the Nigerian Oil and Gas producing areas, thereby fostering peace and prosperity in the nation.
“With peace and sustainable development on the rise, our administration’s agenda for diversification of our economy becomes quicker to attain.”
He said that the Federal Government was making effort to ensure that violence and restiveness in the oil producing areas became thing of the past.
He said that the modular refinery initiative was one of the strategies to develop the areas.
Osinbajo said the concept of the modular refinery stemmed from the need to stop illegal refining which had been blamed for the environmental damage to the areas.
“A polluted environment disallows for favorable investments, thereby hindering employment generation and enabling an environment for social vices to develop.
“It is our hope that the NESH team and partners will align with these initiatives through individual and collective contributions of knowledge, technical expertise and direct investment
“We are ever ready to provide the enabling business environment, right incentives and other support required to realise these aspirations,” Osinbajo said.
Mr Emeka Ugwu-Oju, said that NESH was a platform for celebrating and promoting entrepreneurship in Nigeria.
According to him, entrepreneurship is seen as a major driver for the development of the Nigeria .
“In the past we think that government develops a place but government only provides the enabling environment.
“And then, it is the entrepreneurial spirit of the people that cause development to happen.”
He said that the essence of the Roundtable was to hasten the diversification of the economy by looking inwards for better ways of deploying the oil and gas resources to develop other aspects of the Nigerian economy.
He said that the reality on ground was such that oil alone could no longer sustain the country’s economy.
Ugwu-oju said that the peace in the Niger Delta area was necessary to sustain the current level of oil production in the country.
“And to have peace, you must have equity, justice and then rapid industrial development because when people have jobs, they no longer have time for violence, pipeline vandalism.
“NESH is to provide the roadmap for peace to thrive and to track those projects meant for the areas,” Ugwu-Oju said.
He also said that the NESH would be giving an award to deserving Nigerians who made it possible for peace to thrive in the Niger Delta region as part of its programme for the day.