Ben Dunno, Warri
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has lamented the slow pace of development along coastal settlements across the Niger Delta, indicting various Interventionist agencies for failure to live up to expectations.
Speaking at the Obotobo community (an oil-rich riverine settlement) in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State, where he commissioned 20.20 km of road projects constructed by the state government, Osinbajo said these agencies have shown a lack of capacity over the years.
While expressing sadness over this development, which he said was beginning to make people lose hope in the agencies, the Vice President said that the region deserved a better deal in terms of development than what it is presently getting from these bodies.
According to him, “The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Ministry of Niger Delta have not met with the yearnings and aspirations of the people in the riverine communities despite the huge funds allocated for the development of the area.
“The NDDC in many respect has not meet the expectations of the oil producing states; a lot of money is invested in NDDC and the Ministry of Niger Delta because the real reason they were created is to speed up the development of oil-rich communities.”
The Vice President assured that the Federal Government will do more to develop the Niger Delta in the next four years, noting that the region remains one of areas dear to the heart of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Osinbajo commended Delta State Governor Godwin Okowa for his commitment to bringing a new lease on life to riverine communities across the state, stating that, “we will sit with the Delta State Governor to look at specific areas to develop in the creeks.”
Addressing the traditional monarch of the community, the Vice President said that “It is an honour to be here to visit you, the King of Gbaramatu Kingdom and commission road projects that were executed by Governor Okowa; I am very pleased that we are able to see this type of development in this axis and I commend Governor Okowa for his efforts.”
He continued that “there is a lot of oil and gas in this area and the national assets have been protected; I thank you, Your Majesty for all that you have done to be able the achieve peace and prosperity in this kingdom.”
At Ogulagha, Governor Okowa stated, “it is not just the length of the road that makes this project unique; it is that the road is located right beside the Atlantic Ocean with all the human, material, ecological and financial implications that this difficult terrain presents; we did not know we could get this length of road in the creak until the King drew our attention to it.
“I am happy about the progress we have made so far; this has greatly helped to ensure peace in the State, which bodes well for uninterrupted oil production and the health of the national economy; we are continuing to use various structures and initiatives to ensure that the peace we have enjoyed in the last three years is sustained,” the governor said.
The Ebenanaowei of Ogulagha Kingdom, HRH Joseph Timiyan I in his address, said, “The Ogulagha Kingdom has several onshore and offshore oil and gas wells producing over 150, 000 barrels of crude oil per day.
“But, in spite of this great contributions to the economy of our country, we have never enjoyed the presence of both the federal and state governments through infrastructural development, appointments and training programs until 2015 when the current God-sent Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, came to our rescue with development and appointments of Special Assistants.”
The Vice President also commissioned the newly constructed affordable 650 housing units at Issele-Azagba, Aniocha North local government area of the state.