Niger Delta can be developed like Dubai – Minister
Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Mr Usani Uguru Usani, has urged investors and other stakeholders to support the government to initiate infrastructure projects for speedy development of the region to make it like ‘ Dubai ’.
Usani said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday.
He said that the present administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari had reiterated its commitment to build a ‘new Niger Delta region’.
According to him, the administration is poised to do all that is necessary to build a regional economy that will be virile and an infrastructure base that will be above average.
“Such is the compelling power of a noble purpose that propels us to attain the dreams and aspirations of the region’s destiny, commensurate with her endowment and the demands for qualitative development,’’ he said.
According to him, the ministry has developed a veritable model in developing the Niger Delta region.
“It is neither a replacement nor an alternative to the Niger Delta Action Plan or the Niger Delta Master Plan, rather it is a vehicle through which the Action and Master plan of the region will be driven by this administration.
“Its objectives are to provide a common framework for implementing concerted development efforts in the region.
“It is also to provide a joint accountability framework for monitoring and evaluating development projects in the region.’’
“It is also to provide a unified strategic response based on a shared vision for development action by the agencies driving development in the region,’’ the minister said.
Usani said the strategic plan would focus on 13-development strategic objectives for the region as contained in the “20-Point Agenda” of government.
He added that the agenda was in alignment and specific development demands made by the Pan-Niger Delta Elders Forum (PANDEF) in its 16-Point Agenda for the region.
The minister noted that an Inter-Ministerial Working Group would meet quarterly to review progress across the 13-target areas, as well as appraise performances.
He also said that all projects would be actively mapped and tracked, with a clear space for public involvement to improve accountability.
“The working group in-conjunction with the Office of the Vice-President shall assign tasks to ensure speedy implementation and weekly updates of activities.
“Communication plans to support implementation of the plan and facilitate information dissemination regarding status of implementation are also in place.
“Project Monitoring Mechanisms and monthly or quarterly visits to the region have also been arranged,’’ he said.
The minister, however, added that looters, who have contributed in depriving the region of sustainable development over the years, should be made to return the loots.
NAN recalls that the minister had on Aug. 3, presented a draft of the Niger Delta Strategic Implementation Work Plan to the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo. (NAN)