By Ignatius Ushie
The Honourable Minister of State, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Donald Omotayo Alasoadura has said that the Ministry is making relentless efforts in collaborating with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through First Bank on Agricultural Revolution Initiative in the Niger Delta region. This was contained in a statement made available to Transport Day in Abuja. The Minister said this in an interview session with the Ministers Platform recently held in Abuja.
According to him, “agriculture is a veritable area that is to be tapped into in the Niger Delta region” adding that First Bank is ready to give as much as N50b grant to develop agriculture especially in the area of low land rice cultivation and fishery.
He alluded that the Ministry has made notable efforts in the area of training and empowerment of youths, women and artisans as over 1,500 participants were trained and empowered last year with N500,000.00 given to each person as grant to start their businesses or expand existing ones, assuring that 2022 training programmes would be more elaborate.
Senator Alasoadura stated that the Ministry’s master plan for the Niger Delta region is tailored towards giving basic priorities and improving the Niger Delta holistically, from education to agriculture, empowerment, electricity, housing, infrastructure, land reclamation, health, construction of jetties and canalization, provision of available funds for development, geared towards uplifting the living standard of the Niger Delta people.
In the area of environmental degradation and pollution caused by Hydrocarbon activities such as gas flaring, crude oil exploration and oil spillage, Senator Omotayo commended President Muhammadu Buhari for ensuring that the Ogoni water and sea pollution is being addressed vigorously stating that “the Ministry is also partnering Ministries of Environment and Petroleum Resources respectively in tackling the menace and bringing lasting solution to the problem”.
He reiterated that the greatest legacy the present administration would be remembered for, through the platform of the Ministry is the completion of the East West road and through the efforts of the Ministry; N10billion from the 2021 Sovereign SUKUK Insurance was secured for construction work on the East- West Road.
He further stated that the Ministry has been able to handle to a large extent industrialization and economic challenges confronting the region by promoting the welfare of the people and ensuring that peace and tranquility is maintained adding that the Ministry ensures adequate intervention, consultation with the Traditional rulers, major stakeholders, youths etc. to maintain peace and progress in the region.
The Ministry has also revamped various abandoned projects, located at various communities in the 9 States of the Niger Delta region commissioned and handed over to communities, institutions and so on to be used for their benefits. Such projects according to the Alasoadura are: Skill acquisition centers, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Headquarters, 66 flats Police residential quarters, amongst others.
Senator Alasoadura noted that the Ministry is coordinating to ensure that the 3% from the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) meant for the development of host communities in the region is utilized judiciously for the communities to reap its benefits.
He therefore urged the youths and the people of the Niger Delta region to give the government maximum support to succeed in all its endeavours towards the Niger Delta region.