The Buhari administration says will ensure the completion of the critical projects it has embarked upon in the Niger Delta region in furtherance of its new vision for Niger Delta Development, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Prof. Osinbajo who was represented at the event by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Office of the Vice President, Mr. Edobor Iyamu, stated this on Tuesday at the 6th Anniversary Lecture/Niger Delta Awards Organised by Gbaramatu Voice Newspaper held in Lagos.
According to him, “in 2017, following my tour of the Niger Delta which involved extensive consultations with key stakeholders in the region, the New Vision for the Niger Delta was birthed in response to the various challenges which had been plaguing our people.
The objective of this New Vision is to ensure that the people of the region benefit maximally from their wealth, through promoting infrastructural developments, environmental remediation and local content development.”
Prof. Osinbajo said the administration’s Niger Delta New Vision initiative has recorded some landmark achievements in the areas of education, environmental remediation, infrastructure and local content development, among others.
He added that “as part of the quest to expand economic opportunities in the region, this administration has promoted investments in modular refineries. The objective of this initiative is to address our present energy demands and empower the Niger Delta people through promoting local content.”
Osinbajo stated that while there are several modular refineries at different stages of completion across the region, three have been completed including the Niger Delta Petroleum Resources (NDPR) Modular Refinery in Rivers State; OPAC Modular Refinery in Delta State, and Walter Smith Modular Refinery in Imo State.
He also mentioned the ongoing remediation exercise in Ogoni land, Rivers State, which was kick-started by the Buhari administration under the recommendations of UNEP.
According to the VP, “It is important to note that the Ogoni clean-up is the first of its kind in the history of the Niger Delta. Indeed, this is the first time the Federal Government is directly involved in remediation activities within the region.
The Vice President stressed that “beyond its oil wealth, the Niger Delta region is incredibly blessed with diverse human capital across education, sports, technology, creative arts, entertainment, economy, and many other sectors.”
Speaking on the theme of the event, “The Dwindling State of Crude Oil Demand in the Global Market: The Way Forward”, the Vice President stated that factors such as the attendant decline in demand for our crude oil, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global energy demand and on government’s earning, the current situation, require creative and holistic approach to foster economic growth.
Noting that despite the fact that crude oil accounts for about 90 percent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings, the VP stated that the Federal Government from inception had shown a commitment towards the creation of economic opportunities for Nigeria’s population in a post-oil future.
Osinbajo highlighted initiatives being taken by the Federal Government to reposition Nigeria’s economy by taking advantage of global trends in the energy sector.
This includes the SolarPowerNaija Programme under the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) which will complement efforts towards providing affordable electricity access to 5 million households, serving about 25 million Nigerians in rural areas and under-served urban communities nationwide.
The VP also highlighted efforts by FG on energy transition from crude oil to natural gas, as well as its National Gas Expansion Programme, also a component under the ESP.
In line with the Administration’s New Vision for the Niger Delta initiative to develop the region, the Vice President noted that the Federal Government has “also invested significantly in the Niger Delta as the region that holds the energy resources that have powered our progress for six decades as well as the keys to an emergent gas economy.”
He further noted that the Administration places top priority on peace and security in the region.
Commending the publishers of Gbaramatu Voice Newspapers for organizing the event, the Vice President said the ‘cumulative effect of all these measures will have a positive transformational impact on the Niger Delta and on the future of our nation as a whole while ensuring sustainable peace and progress in the Niger Delta.