Osinbajo in Bayelsa, promises new dawn for Niger Delta
Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday promised a new era and new dawn for the people of oil-producing communities in the Niger Delta, saying plans were underway for the rapid development of the area.
Osinbajo, who was in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, in continuation of his engagement visits to seek opinions on the way out of the Niger Delta impasse, said he was in the state as an emissary of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government, to propose a new vision that would signpost a new era for the people.
While acknowledging the many challenges and difficulties being faced by the people of the oil-producing communities, the Acting President said government would soon begin a partnership with oil-producing states, local government and oil companies for developmental purposes.
He said: “We must convene an oil communities intervention to work out what can be done in the short, medium and long term possibilities. “We must focus to see how the people can see the benefits of oil wealth in the land. This new vision will define the future of the region.
“We must make sure that our oil-producing communities are hubs for petro-chemical industries, small and large. We must make these communities hub for refining and other related activities.”
“The Ministry of Petroleum Resources, in collaboration with the companies, is working on a 40-point agenda, a new initiatives for oil-producing communities in Niger Delta. In particular, working with illegal refineries to participate in the modular refineries that will be established.”
Osinbajo, who made a case for the establishment of a power plant, because of the huge deposit of gas in the region, said the biggest benefit is to attract more investment to the region.
He, however, called on youths to shun pipeline vandalism and other ills inimical to the growth of the oil industry, as there was no way the Federal Government could get funds for development in the region if key oil installations are being destroyed.
He also challenged Niger Delta youths to be resourceful and innovative, as that remains the key critical points in building a society.
“It is from this great state of Bayelsa, precisely Oloibiri, that the history of oil exploration in Nigeria began.
“It is here that this great source of wealth was discovered and this oil became the source of 70 per cent of national revenue and 90 per cent of foreign exchange earnings.
“Over 50 per cent of our non-oil revenue is determined by oil revenue, but for the people of historic Oloibiri and many oil communities in this state and many others in the Niger Delta region, the blessing of oil has paradoxically become a curse or at best a burden.”
The host governor, Seriake Dickson, while thanking the Acting President for the visit, tasked the Federal Government on the need to revisit the Brass Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project and the Brass Fertilizer Plants.
He said: “Today that you’ve visited Bayelsa State is actually the day you’ve visited the Niger Delta, so welcome to the Niger Delta, because the contradictions and issues, historical and contemporary, all the challenges of security, of stability, all the challenges of development and of environment, you see them in their naked form in Bayelsa.”
Others who spoke include the presidents of Ijaw National Council (INC), Boma Obuoforibo; Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Udengs Eradiri, traditional rulers, women representatives and leaders from host communities who all unanimously sought massive development of the region and job creation for its youths through industrialisation.