*Capacity-building workshop focus on regional development, nation-building

The Nigerian government is backing its commitment to the Niger Delta Region with necessary actions that would lead to the implementation of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s New Vision for the region.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on the Niger Delta Region, Edobor Iyamu, stated this on Wednesday while speaking with reporters on the side-lines of a one-day capacity building workshop for civil society organisations, government agencies and the media at the State House Auditorium, Abuja.

The workshop, with the theme: Niger Delta New Vision: Partnership for regional development & Nation-building, focused on specific areas; including the roles of the media, communications managers/officers, and CSOs in regional and national development.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Budget, Mr. Tola Asekun; Senior Special Assistant to the President in charge of Niger Delta, Edobor Iyamu, and Special Assistant to the President on Communication Projects-Niger Delta, Arukaino Umukoro, during a workshop on Niger Delta New Vision, Partnership for Regional Development and Nation Building, at the State House Auditorium in Abuja on Wednesday

“Not only is government committed, it is backing all of its commitment with the necessary action and steps that need to be taken,” Mr. Iyamu said.

He said that one of the licensed modular refineries in Delta State was about 70% completed, while work on the one in Rivers State was progressing.

Among other projects that Iyamu listed that were currently ongoing in the region in line with the Niger Delta New Vision, were the Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, and the Ogoni Cleanup.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, Iyamu said government has also demonstrated its commitment to the Niger Delta with consistent increase in budgetary allocations to the region in the last three years.

“Today, the budget of the Ministry of the Niger Delta Affairs has been increased.  The budget of the NNDC has also been increased. The budget for NDDC has also been increased.”

He restated Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s assertion during his engagements with leaders and stakeholders in the region last year that the people of the Niger Delta deserved more than they were getting.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Infrastructure, Imeh Okon, said the key to what government was doing in the Niger Delta was to complete all abandoned projects in the region.

A facilitator, Ken Henshaw, addressing the CSO participants at the Niger Delta New Vision workshop at the State House Auditorium in Abuja on Wednesday

“You don’t start something and then you abandon it where you have limited resources. You need to finish it and be able to leverage on the resources that you deployed on that project in the first place.”

She said government was working to ensure that all projects with strategic developmental impact were completed.

“And then we also look at new projects that have impact that would be linked to those existing projects.  So we can also fund those projects.  But the key is that we are longer abandoning projects.”

Participants at the workshop were given an overview of the Strategic Implementation Work Plan, SIWP, of the Niger Delta New Vision.

They were also taken through the communication strategy of the SIWP to stakeholders in the Niger Delta and the role of Civil Society organizations in the region.

There was also a session on partnering towards regional development and nation building.