Niger Delta Ministry to consult host communities on projects
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Olatayo Alasoadura, has said that his ministry would henceforth undertake fewer projects that can be completed within a scheduled timeframe and consult with the beneficiary communities in the process.
Alasoadura said the move was against the practice of undertaking many at the same time and abandoning them at different stages.He also said that such projects will also be determined in consultation with the host communities.
Speaking during a sensitisation meeting with the oil-producing communities at Okeikpe headquarters of Ukwa West Local Government Area (LGA), the minister said that his ministry had embarked on various projects across the nine states in the region for the purpose of uplifting the peoples’ quality of life and promoting economic activities.
He added that the discovery of oil and gas in Nigeria, though a blessing, came with its pains and challenges that include environmental degradation, pollution, loss of aquatic lives, militancy, and destruction of valuable government facilities, among others.
According to him, the effect of exploration activities brought loss of sources of livelihood, homes and in some instances lives and properties, which ultimately resulted into conflicts and agitations from host communities across the Niger Delta Region.
He listed 12 projects being undertaken in Abia State, adding that the ministry also made proposals for other projects in the 2020 Appropriation, pointing out that “the transformation of the region cannot single handedly be achieved by any one organisation, individual, institution or agency. Hence, he said there is need for collaboration and synergy.
To this end, “the Ministry will implement programmes to harmonise the Niger Delta Mandate of the NDDC into a single development agenda through a process that will ensure robust participation of our people as a priority in year 2020”.
Abia state governor, who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Ude Oko Chukwu, urged the Federal government to compensate the oil -producing communities of the States,adding that Abia State has three oil-producing LGAs and not only Ukwa West. He named the other two as Ukwa East and Ugwunagbo, which he said was endowed with abundant gas deposits.
The governor specifically urged for the completion of the long due Owaza-Obehie- Azumini- Ukanafor road rehabilitation that connects Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Abia Rivers , Delta and other states.
On behalf of the Oil-producing Communities, the Chairman of the host Ukwa West LG Council, Sylvanus Nwaji, demanded for the completion of the Niger Delta Housing Estate located at Ukwa West, Skills Acquisition Center at Owaza , building what he called a befitting Civic Hall for IPU community of Ukwa West.
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