Nairametrics| Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, during his peace and dialogue tour of the Niger-Delta region, attempted to smoothen relations between the government and the region, who has severally complained of marginalization despite being the source of crude oil that the country depends on for revenue.
The Vice President, while speaking in a town hall meeting with governors, former governors, community leaders, women and various youth groups in the Niger Delta region, however, stated that Shell Petroleum Development company (SPDC) had pledged to release $1 billion over 5 years to aid the development of the region. Osinbajo then mentioned 3 key areas this fund will be expended on in order to improve the conditions in the region.[read more=”Click here to Read More” less=”Read Less”]
- Infrastructural Development: The Vice President mentioned that infrastructural development beginning with the construction of a Center of Excellence, which will be flagged off in a few days, would be a key component of the revival of the region.
- Economic Empowerment: Understanding that the lives of the residents in the region must be positively impacted on, the Vice President also stated that economic empowerment programs to enable residents earn a sustainable livelihood will be embarked upon. The initial training of 2,000 women from four local government areas in greenhouse, shrimp, poultry farming for empowerment was promised to take off soon.
- Environmental Remediation: Noting that the environmental degradation of the region was one of the most glaring reasons of discontent in the region, Osinbajo said that environmental remediation consisting of the cleanup of Ogoniland, drinking water projects, health impact assessment, resolution of issues surrounding the construction of petrochemical plants and use of coal powered refineries will be attended to in order to restore environmental sanity to the region.
As usual, these promises seem to hit the nail on the head and point to obvious solutions to the unrest in the region which has seen Nigeria consistently fall below its anticipated 2.2 million barrels per day crude oil production target. However, as with previous efforts to handle issues in the region, sustainability and political commitment must be on board. Otherwise, it is just another bunch of failed promises.[/read]