Niger Delta ministry work plan elicits mixed reactions

Minister of Niger Delta of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani

A proposed two-year strategic work plan by the Federal Government for the development of the Niger Delta has elicited mixed reactions from stakeholders in the region.The Minister in charge of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru, while disclosing the receipt of the work plan that would guide the development activities in the Niger Delta between 2017 and 2019, said the essence of this was to eliminate duplication that may result to waste of resources.

Former President, Ijaw National Congress, Professor Kimse Okoko said the report by the technical committee set up by the minister was unwarranted because the developmental challenges of the region have been well articulated in several reports at the disposal of government.

“There have been several reports on the Niger Delta, what is going to be new about this one submitted to the minister?  If they found something amiss in the Niger Delta regional master plan, they should tell us. We are fed up with studies upon studies on the Niger Delta. We know what is wrong with the Niger Delta. It is a common knowledge. What is the point for this committee’s report?

Similarly, the President, Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) Legborsi Pyagbara told The Guardian that the challenge his people face in terms of development, had been that every political leader wants to develop the region based on his perception.

“The challenge we have with the Niger Delta is that everybody comes to deal with the issue of the Niger Delta from his or her own perspective, forgetting that this whole thing already has a template. If you want to do a new thing, why don’t you even look at the Niger Delta technical committee’s report? We set up a committee, we kept them somewhere for months. They produced a report, which was supposed to be a regional intervention framework and we are not addressing it,” he said.

Pyagbara recalled that a Niger Delta regional masterplan was designed by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to serve as a guide for all stakeholders in the region. Unfortunately, the masterplan has been abandoned.

A member of the default Technical Committee on the Niger Delta cum chairman, Niger Delta Civil Society Coalition, Mr. Anyakwee Nsirimovu, said there was not nothing wrong with the proposed developmental agenda, since the regional masterplan has overshot its lifespan.

“Pick up the Niger Delta technical committee report and look at the infrastructural provisions and you want to do something based on available resources, that will be okay. Rather than depending on one massive document called masterplan that nobody is doing something about it.

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