From JULIANA TAIWO-OBALONYE, Abuja
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has restated that the people of the Niger Delta deserve a fair deal, expressing regret over the failure of past governments to address the deplorable conditions in the oil-rich region.
He stated this while chairing an inter-ministerial follow-up meeting with relevant government ministries, departments and agencies involved in the Niger Delta affairs at the Presidential Villa, after touring the region
According to Osinbajo, it was in a bid to give the region a fair deal that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was advocating a new vision for the people of the Niger Delta, stressing that, “the President believed the people of the Niger Delta deserve justice, and for me also, it is a very important point.”
The vice president, who noted that the state of the region and the suffering of the people do not reflect the fact that it is the resource base of the country, added, “in spite of the past leadership failure, the Niger Delta people deserved a fair deal.”
Prof Osinbajo told the inter-ministerial team that includes, ministers and other MDA heads that the meeting is to ensure that, “we are faithful to the promises and the spirit of the presidential engagements with the people of the Niger Delta.”
In attendance at the meeting were the Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani; Petroleum Resources Minister of State, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu and the Environment Minister of State, Alhaji Ibrahim Jubril. Others were the Presidential Adviser on Amnesty Programme, Major-General Paul Boroh, and the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Nsima U. Ekere.
All the ministers and officials made presentations about the next steps in the process, especially on how to effectively meet the commitments and deliver the promises made by the Federal Government during the interactive engagement tours led by the vice president.
In his presentation, the Minister of State for Environment, disclosed that the ministry has now fully engaged the Ogoni Clean-Up Project Coordinator, Dr. Marvin Dekil, himself an indigene of Ogoni. Besides he also revealed that potential contractors have been visiting the site to demonstrate available and suitable technology to be used for the Clean-Up.
In a related development, Osinbajo received a delegation of western diplomats from countries actively participating in the oil industry in Nigeria.
The delegation was led by the Dutch Envoy in Nigeria, Ambassador John C.M. Groffen, and included Ambassadors, High Commissioners or their deputies from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, United States and the European Union.
The vice president told the diplomats that the interactive engagements with the oil-producing communities was the idea of President Buhari’s after he met leaders from the region last November.