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“Show more commitment to Niger Delta, national development”

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Aminu Aliyu Bisalla has charged staff of the Ministry at the state offices to show more commitment in the discharge of their responsibilities towards the development of the Niger Delta region and Nigeria in general.

Bisalla gave this charge at an interactive session between the Management of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and the staff of the state offices in Cross River and Akwa Ibom states on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.

The Permanent Secretary noted that successive administrations in the country had shown concerns on the development issues affecting the Niger Delta region over the years. He added that the Ministry was being repositioned to facilitate the realisation of the development concerns.

“We have begun to restructure the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs in a bid to strengthen its offices in all the nine states of the Niger Delta so as to achieve its mandate of improving the lives of the people of the region,” the Permanent Secretary stressed.

He reiterated the need for the Ministry’s staff in the nine states to relate properly with the people at the grassroots in order to know their needs so that necessary actions could be taken to address them.

“You have to be very vibrant in discharging your duties so that the Niger Delta people will be able to feel the impacts of the huge investments of the Federal Government and other development partners in the region,” he emphasised.

In the same vein, Bisalla has called on the people of the Niger Delta region to toe the path of dialogue in resolving issues with stakeholders and government as development could not be achieved in the midst of rancour.

He revealed this at a community engagement on peace in the Niger Delta region held at Orogun town, Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State on Thursday.

Bisalla disclosed that the interactive session, themed ‘Community Engagement and Dialogue for Sustainable Development, was a fallout of one of the recommendations of the 3rd National Council on Niger Delta which took place in Umuahia, Abia State in 2018 as well as other stakeholders’ fora where participants had called on Federal Government to bridge the communication gap with Niger Deltans’.

Thus, he disclosed that the meeting was necessitated by the need of government to hear directly from the people of the Niger Delta region on what they want in the spirit of developing the region.

The Permanent Secretary , who was represented by Architect Oyelade Oyeleke David, the Delta State Coordinator of the Ministry stressed that this would guide the Federal Government in initiating programmes and projects that would impact positively on the lives of the people of the community and the region at large.

Bisalla also called on people of the Niger Delta region to sustain the prevailing peace in the region for sustainable development.

In his remarks, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege urged the Federal Government to provide more employment opportunities for Niger Delta youths as they were willing to work and contribute to the development of the region.

Chief Francis Anigabou, a representative of Obugwe of Ezemu Kingdom, commended the Federal Government for organizing the interactive session,which indicated government’s interest of attending to the demands of the community and the Niger Delta region. He added that Olorogun community was in dire need of hospitals, motorable roads, schools and other basic social amenities which should be provided by the federal government.

In her remarks,Director Community Development and Education in the Ministry, Mrs Lauren Braide, said that the interactive session was the desire of the Federal Government to adopt dialogue and community based approach in developing the region as similar sessions were held last year in Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Edo States.

Braide stressed the need for continuous dialogue and regular constructive engagements of critical stakeholders to ensure inclusive growth of the region.

FG empowers Niger Delta youths, women in agriculture

The Federal Government has empowered  40 Physically Challenged Persons, 188 youths and women from the Niger Delta region with N300,000 at the graduation Ceremonies organised by the Ministry Of Niger Delta Affairs for trainees in Edo, Delta and Akwa Ibom States recently.

One hundred and four youths and women trained on fishery and poultry farming graduated from Benin-city, Edo State, 84 trainees graduated from Asaba, Delta State, while 40 Physically Challenged Persons, trained on Bead-making, confectionery and entrepreneurship, had their graduation ceremony at Amayam Clan, Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom state respectively.

One of the mandates of the ministry of Niger Delta Affairs is to organise human capacity development, as well as skill acquisition programme for youths, and take adequate measures to ensure peace, stability and security with a view to enhancing the economic potentials for the region. Under President Buhari administration the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs has kept to her mandates.

The Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, represented by Mr Philip Ndiomu, a Deputy Director in the Economic Empowerment Department of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, at the Benin City Centre, told. the recipients to put  the knowledge gained to good use.

Usani said that the training programme were aim at equipping  participants with practical and theoretical  knowledge on poultry  and fishery production as well as other  business management skills that would  make their individual businesses grow.

The Minister   advised them to put the N300, 000.00 (Three Hundred Thousand Naira) starter packs they received to good use, to the extent that they would also empower others to start their own businesses.

Usani enjoined them to patiently grow their businesses as immediate success or profit was not guaranteed.

The Minister revealed that the training and empowerment programme was continuous and assured those clamouring for inclusion that they would be considered in subsequent ones.

He added that the programme would not be stopped now as it was the dream of government to see that youth and women of the Niger Delta region became self-reliant and self- sustaining.

In his remarks, Senator Mathew Urhoghide of Edo South Senatorial district, thanked the Ministry of Niger Delta Affair for partnering Edo state and other stakeholders on the project as he advised  recipients of the programme ‘to utilize the opportunity to better their lots in life’ as it might never come to them again.

The Senator stressed that the programme was very important to the Federal Government as it was keen on attending to the yearnings of youths and women of the Niger Delta region. He urged the trainees to be strategic on the businesses they do with their starter packs.

Similarly, Senator Sam Anyanwu of Imo state who was also at the graduation ceremony in Benin-City, advised the trainees to take the knowledge serious, make good use of it and not waste the starter pack on frivolous things.

One of the trainees and physically challenged beneficiary from the Akwa Ibom State Centre, Prince Akaninyene Isidore noted: “Before now, persons with disabilities were insignificant in the society as far as charity is concerned, but we are grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari for developing people with disabilities through the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.”

Senate, Reps committees task Niger Delta ministry on budget implementation

The Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Niger Delta have emphasised the need for effective implementation of budgetary allocations to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, for the benefits of the people of the Niger Delta region.

This view was expressed by the Chairmen of the committees on Niger Delta when the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani led the Ministry’s delegation to the National Assembly for the 2018 Budget Defence and presentation of the 2019 Draft Budget in Abuja, on Thursday.

In his remarks, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi noted: “If we discover that you do not deserve the money allocated to you by Mr. President, we will ensure that such money is given to other Ministries or agencies that need it, but if will also discover that the money allocated to you is smaller than what you require, we will source for other areas of raising funds for you.”

One of the mandates of the ministry of Niger Delta is to coordinate the activities of the State Liaison Offices in the nine (9) States of the Niger Delta Region, namely; Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers, and ensure proper administrative management of the State Offices and maintenance of account among other functions.

The ministry also coordinates efforts to tackle the challenges of infrastructural development, environment protection and youth empowerment in the Niger Delta

Senator Nwaoboshi added that the Ministry should ensure timely completion of projects that would benefit the people of the Niger Delta region, while charging it to do away with those projects he tagged, ‘less important.’

He hinted that the discoveries from the committee’s oversight visits to the region would be the major deciding factors for the consideration of the Ministry’s 2019 Appropriation.

Earlier, the Chairman, House Committee on Niger Delta, Honourable Essien Ayi said his Committee was interested in  the completion of on-going capital projects in the Niger Delta region, saying that the committee, in its last oversight visit to various projects of the Ministry in the region witnessed a number of uncompleted projects.

Hon. Ayi also advised that completed housing schemes in the Niger Delta region by the Ministry should be handed over to the beneficiaries to address their housing need.

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, while presenting a draft budget of N41,600,274,568 covering Capital, Overhead and Personnel Appropriation for 2019 before the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Niger Delta, disclosed that about 80 projects- roads, water, electricity, housing, blocks of class room, food and cassava processing plants, health care centres, empowerment programmes, sensitisation on peace and security, medical outreaches, land reclamation and erosion control, among others,  were completed within the 2018 budget year across the nine states of the Niger Delta region.

Pastor Usani said that the implementation of the 2018 Capital Budget was still on-going, adding that more capital projects would still be completed before June, 2019.

He said that the Ministry was guided by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Administration’s determination to move the country to the Next Level, in preparing the budget. “The core projects earmarked for execution in the fiscal year 2019 are indeed consistent with the programmes spelt out in the Budget guidelines,“ he  reiterated.

The Minister stressed that his Ministry will continue to ensure that quality jobs are delivered to the people and residents of the Niger Delta region by contractors.