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Niger Delta New Vision birthed take-off of Maritime University, development projects in region – Osinbajo

Speech by His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, at the 1st Matriculation Ceremony of The Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, on Saturday, 6th April, 2019

(Delivered by Mr. Edobor Iyamu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Economic Matters/Niger Delta, Office of the Vice President)

Protocol

I bring very warm greetings from His Excellency Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, on whose behalf I’m standing here before you today.

Hearty congratulations to the management and staff of the Maritime University, Okerenkoko Delta State, on the commemoration of this milestone occasion, the inaugural matriculation ceremony. Congratulations also to all of the matriculating students. As the pioneer set of students of this landmark institution, you are all standing on the threshold of history, and we rejoice with you.

This is a day that we have long awaited and looked forward to, and I am delighted that it has come, and we are here to witness it. A year ago, on the 12th of April 2018, to be precise, this University commenced academic activities, with a total of 370 students spread across 13 undergraduate programmes in three Faculties, namely: Transport, Engineering and Environmental Management.

In addition, there were 85 students admitted into the University’s Basic programme. They sat for the JAMB examinations, and the 59 who were successful were given admission into the University.

This University is one of the strongest demonstrations yet of the total and unflinching commitment of the Buhari Administration to the development and the progress of the Niger Delta. The President is a man of his word, and he has made that clear over and over again with regards to the Niger Delta, in the last four years.

You will recall that he touched on the issue of the Delta in his inauguration Speech on May 29, 2015. It was a measure of his determination to rewrite the story of a neglected region. People had come before him and paid lip service to the issues. You are all witnesses to how the Ogoni Clean-up failed to leave the drawing board.

The seriousness with which we view the Niger Delta informed the series of unprecedented engagements that resulted in the comprehensive development Plan known as the New Vision for the Niger Delta; with the goal of ensuring that the huge resources of the Delta are put to work for the good of the people of the region.

That New Vision has guided us every step of the way, and is what has helped propel the Ogoni Clean Up to fruition, and helped birth this University in which we are gathered today.

Since 2016, when the Buhari Administration flagged off the Clean Up of Ogoni land, we have seen actual implementation and progress. As I speak, 21 companies have been awarded remediation contracts, and 15% of the contract sum released by way of mobilisation fee. Some of the contractors have since commenced work on the affected sites, and others are currently mobilising to site. This award of contracts followed a very open and transparent international procurement process, as well as the laying down of a robust governance and oversight framework for the Clean Up. And while the remediation is ongoing, there are also a lot of efforts aimed at ensuring that affected communities enjoy basic amenities like clean water, and that jobs and training opportunities are extended to them.

Our Modular Refinery Programme is another important cornerstone of the New Vision for the Niger Delta. There are currently four modular refineries at different levels of completion, across the region, as follows:

  • Niger Delta Exploration & Production situated Rivers State
  • Opac Modular Refinery situated here in Delta
  • Ikwe-Onna situated in Akwa-Ibom
  • Walter Smith in Imo State

One of them, the Niger Delta Exploration & Production is a brownfield project that is being expanded by 5,000bpd in the first phase. That expansion is now about 98% completed and will commence test-running from the 16th of April, 2019. The remaining three are greenfield projects and are all scheduled for commissioning this year.

The Amnesty Programme has continued to receive funding and support from the Buhari Administration, because we understand just how important it is for the young people of the region. We will continue to ensure that it delivers on its mandate and responds fully to the needs and yearnings of the beneficiaries.

Permit me to also highlight our Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme, aimed at ensuring that we bring an end to the tragedy that is gas-flaring in the Niger Delta. The impact of this is going to be enormous, not just in terms of health and the environment, but also in terms of economic opportunities. The successful bidders for the gas flare sites will be expected to create economic value from the gas hitherto being flared, and this will create jobs and wealth for citizens and for communities. Adverts for the commercialisation of the flare sites have already gone out and submissions of Expression of Interest are being received.  The next stage will be the shortlisting and award of concessions to the successful bidders.

These and more are examples of how we are walking the talk in the Niger Delta region, which we view not in terms of its past, but in terms of its potential. And this is a potential that is not limited to oil and gas, but is actually focused more on the development of human capital. We are confident that the Niger Delta will sooner than later come to be defined, not by crude oil, but by the quality of its human resource, the abundance of its agriculture, its rich cultural potential, and so on.

We have a vision that the Maritime University will come to be known around the world as a Center of Excellence in Maritime matters, and a repository of expertise and knowledge on the Niger Delta.

For all the matriculating students, and the pioneer staff, you can see why you have a great burden and responsibility on your shoulders. I enjoin you to discharge these with dedication and pride, and to continue to carry yourselves as excellent ambassadors of this University.

Once again, I congratulate you on this auspicious occasion, and I wish you the very best for the future.

God bless the Maritime University, God Bless the Niger Delta, and God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Thank you.

 

Editor’s note: The Vice President was represented at the event by Mr. Edobor Iyamu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Economic Matters/Niger Delta, Office of the Vice President

We’re not owing Niger Delta ex-militants Stipends, Allowances – PAP

The Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) is up-to-date with payment of stipends, books and in-training allowances to Niger Delta ex-militants.

According to a Pulse Nigeria report, Mr Murphy Ganagana, Special Assistant Media to the Coordinator, PAP, Prof. Charles Dokubo, made this known in Abuja, while responding to claims by some people that the Amnesty office owed.

It could be recalled that the amnesty deal by the Nigerian government for militants in the Niger Delta was aimed at reducing unrest in the oil-rich region.

Late former President Umaru Yar’Adua offered an unconditional pardon and cash payments to rebels who agreed to lay down their arms.

The government targeted up to 10,000 militants who attacked the six Niger Delta states and cost the country a third of its oil production.

Meanwhile the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration assured of its continuity and commitment to the Amnesty programme, through its NIGER NEW VISION initiative.

The New vision has seen to several developments in the Niger Delta area’s which includes the empowerment of ex- militant (establishment of recreational centres, cash payments, scholarship opportunities etc).

At the briefing Ganagana said that the payment of allowances to the beneficiaries have been regular and prompt ever since the present leadership took over the management of the Amnesty programme.

“As we speak today, we are not owing ex-agitators under the Amnesty programme any stipends, in-training or books allowances,. We have paid up-to -date as funds are being released.

“We do also not owe in-training allowances to any scholarship beneficiary of the programme, especially those within the country.

Ganagana further explained that those who were claiming that the amnesty office owed them one year in backlog payments, were illegally deployed to various institutions for training without due process or the consent of the Coordinator.

He said: “in March 2018 shortly after Dokubo resumed office, some Niger Delta people who were not captured in the Amnesty programme database were illegally deployed for training without the Coordinator’s authorisation.”

“There were two categories of group of persons that were illegally deployed by a former official of the Amnesty programme within the period under review.

“Some of them were captured in the database making them bona-fide beneficiaries of the programme while some were not captured.

“But the Coordinator after some considerations decided to pay only the tuition fees of those ones who were not captured and have been given admission in various institutions for training.”

He said that the legal beneficiaries were entitle to tuition fees, books and in training allowances. “So, it is out of place for those who were illegally deployed for training to claim that they are being owed allowances,” he said, adding that the amnesty programme has the mandate to training, reintegrate and empower 30,000 ex-agitators of the Niger Delta region so as to maintain peace in the region.

Our Next Target is Job Creation for Niger Deltans – Dokubo

The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Prof. Charles Dokubo, has said that creation of job opportunities for Niger Deltans that have been trained under the Presidential Amnesty Programme, will be vigorously pursued this year.

According to a Vanguard report, Dokubo who is also Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), stated this during an interactive session with journalists in Abuja.

Dokubo categorically stated that priority would be given to creating jobs for the people of the Niger Delta to ease their burden and ensure that marginalization in the region becomes a thing of the past.

His statement, “Job placement is the next stage of my plan for this year and I believe that if we can achieve that, we are going to do well. The people of the Niger Delta will not cry their old cries again that they have been marginalized.”

“The amount of money government has spent on this programme is a lot and I know that if we judiciously expend it, most people from Niger Delta will benefit immensely. I want this programme to be a success, if not, our children yet unborn will keep asking us what we have done for them if we say we have fought for Niger Delta.

“This tale about being deprived should not be something we should keep saying. We have been given access. No part of Nigeria has more agencies than the Niger Delta. Now that we have these things, I implore the people of Niger Delta to know that the sky is their beginning if they will work when they are given a job” He said.

How Nigerians are benefitting from Amnesty Programme

No fewer than 177 persons profiled from various communities across 20 distribution centres in the Niger Delta states, including Ondo, have benefited from a succour provided by the Presidential Amnesty Programme.

According to a statement from Murphy Ganagana, media aide to the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and coordinator of the Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo, the items for various trades distributed to the beneficiaries included welding equipment, tailoring, catering, deep freezers and generators of different sizes.

Daily Trust reported that the exercise, which will eventually involve thousands of recipients drawn from various communities in Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Cross Rivers, Imo, Ondo, Akwa Ibom and Abia states, commenced in Warri, Delta State last Friday.

The statement said that at another phase of the empowerment programme in Rivers State on Sunday, Prof Dokubo described the gesture as a show of President Muhammadu Buhari’s love for the people of the oil rich Niger Delta.

Speaking on behalf of recipients of the items at the Warri distribution centre, the community leader in Ogbeinbin, Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State, Chief Solomon Ogumogu, commended the initiative.

He said, “We are happy for what is happening today. Since the beginning of the Amnesty Programme 2009, we have never experienced anything like this before. The Amnesty Programme was targeted at those involved in the armed struggle, the people that carried arms fighting for their freedom, but majority of communities in the Niger Delta had been neglected.”

Peace in Niger Delta, increase in oil production, achievements under Buhari – Kachikwu

The prevailing peace in the Niger Delta, which has led to the increase in oil production and revenue to the country, is one of the many achievements of the Buhari-led administration.

This was stated recently by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, who added that President Muhammadu Buhari’s integrity and sterling performance would speak for him, even as Nigerians prepare to vote in Saturday’s presidential elections.

Speaking further, Kachikwu said the administration of Muhammadu Buhari has facilitated development in the Niger Delta region, which has led to the increase of oil production and revenue to the country, assuring that the federal government will continue to maintain the Amnesty Programme in the Niger Delta.

He further said that the Federal Government has made impressive mark on the economy, agriculture, security, transportation and roads infrastructure among other commendable projects nationwide.

According to Daily Trust, the minister said this at the unveiling of the Buhari Support Organisations (BSO) on Wednesday in Asaba, Delta State. He stated that President Buhari would never support anybody to rig elections.

Developing Niger Delta: Buhari administration has kept promise, says Dokubo

President Muhammadu Buhari has kept his promise to the Niger Delta and support for this administration should be sustained in the region as it continues its development efforts, the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs /Coordinator of Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP, Prof. Charles Dokubo has said.

According to the Vanguard, he noted that this was important because the Niger Delta sustains the nation’s economy and there is need to maintain the development of the region.

Speaking in Abuja, when a group of Niger Delta youths paid him a visit recently, Dokubo noted that Buhari means well for the region, adding that their continuous support for the president and his administration would attract more development to the area.

He said, “We must work and support President Buhari because to transform you is not only to pay you N65, 000. We should realise that this office is being supported very well by this president. He is giving us the backing for the development of the Niger Delta, we must work for him.”

“If somebody gives you food, would you forget that person? If somebody changes your life or that of your brother, would you forget that person? “I am so happy that you came here today, this is because since I took over here, this is the first time our people have come here to show me this kind of support officially, and this goes a long way. This office belongs to all of you.”

In its efforts towards ensuring more development in the region, the Buhari administration started the implementation of its ongoing New Vision for the Niger Delta, which is designed to “develop a new and prosperous Niger Delta through the Federal Government’s forthright partnerships with State Governments, the Private Sector and Local Communities.”

Ongoing projects under the Niger Delta New Vision include: the take-off of Maritime University in Okerenkoko, Delta State, the Commencement of Ogoni Clean-up, approval for the establishment of Modular Refineries, continuation of the Presidential Amnesty Programme and investments in infrastructure and development projects in the region.

Amnesty Programme catering to the needs of ex-agitators in Niger Delta, says group

*Lauds appointment of Dokubo

A group, the Forum for the Advancement and Upliftment of the Niger Delta (FAUND), has lauded the Presidential Amnesty Programme, which it said is fulfilling its key mandate of catering to the needs and aspirations of ex-agitators in the Niger Delta.

In a statement signed by FAUND President, Nimitein Oyibo, the group also commended the Federal Government and the President Muhammadu Buhari for the appointment of Professor Charles Quaker Dokubo as Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).

It also described Dokubo’s appointment as a step in the right direction for the development of the Niger Delta.

“As a leading Niger Delta stakeholder and renowned academic, Professor Dokubo has provided a new vehicle for the people of the Niger Delta to feel first hand, the gains of the Buhari presidency with respect to plans and programmes designed for the advancement of the lives of the people of the Niger Delta,” the statement read.

It further stated that less than 6 months into Dokubo’s tenure as Coordinator of the Amnesty Programme, “the programme has been returned to its cardinal mandate of catering to the needs and aspirations of ex-agitators in the Niger Delta who have chosen the path of peace, stability and progress.”

According to the statement, “The Reintegration of the thousands of young men who laid down their arms in the Niger Delta has been moved into new gear with new enthusiasm and commitment.

“Entitlements to these young lads are now being paid on time and empowerment programmes have been greatly reconfigured to ensure that the beneficiaries are equipped with the knowledge, skillset and tools they require to live productive lives.”

The statement added that, “At a time when political players and stakeholders in the Niger Delta have become so divisive and offensive, we commend the foresight of the Buhari government in the appointment of a leading technocrat, academic and progressive to the very sensitive role and position.

“Prof. Dokubo’s humaneness, humility, sense of purpose and commitment to the advancement of the Niger Delta has in so small way, helped to mold the conscience and consciousness of hundreds of thousands of Niger Deltans scattered across the 9 states of the Niger Delta.

“Since his appointment as Coordinator of PAP, Prof. Dokubo, a professor of International Diplomacy, War, Defence and Peace Studies, has won new friends and followers for President Buhari in the Niger Delta than all other political leaders in the Niger Delta.

“We call on all people of the Niger Delta to support the efforts of Prof. Dokubo in fixing the Presidential Amnesty Programme in order that it can be returned to the mandate for which it was set up for. The era of reckless petition writing aided and abetted by disgruntled contractors and stakeholders should come to an end. The advancement and upliftment of the Niger Delta must be the concern of everyone.”