Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Stakeholders in Niger Delta region of the country have said that youth empowerment remained a veritable means to engender peace in the region.
The stakeholders also said youth empowerment should be intensified in the region as they also called for programmes targeted at the youths and communities in the region.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the 4rd National Council Meeting on Niger Delta held, in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, a copy of which was made available to Daily Sun, in Abuja, the Council expressed concerns over the non-implementation of past approved memoranda for the youths of the region.
In the communiqué signed by Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs (MNDA), Dr. Sam Eno, the Council urged the MNDA to revisit and implement the resolutions reached at the last council on Niger Delta.
The Council also called on the MNDA to redouble its efforts at coordinating projects and programmes execution by all intervening bodies in the region in order to accelerate development.
“The council noted the importance of strengthening monitoring and evaluation of projects by all stakeholders to ensure transparency and accountability,” the communiqué read.
The Council also noted that youth empowerment remained a veritable means to engender peace and should be intensified and called for programmes targeted at peaceful youth and communities.
It recalled the approval at the 2nd Council on Niger Delta of a Youth Sports Engagement Programme (YSEP) to promote peaceful co-existence, harmony and stability, saying that the project should be immediately pursued.
Other recommendations made include enhancing engagement of communities in the security and peace efforts in the region; reiterating the need for alternative sources of funding for the completion of ongoing capital projects in the region and encouraging the adoption of public private partnership for the delivery of critical infrastructure and services.
The Council also noted the importance of the inter-ministerial committee chaired by the Vice President as a vehicle for promoting synergy and cooperation that is required to galvanise collective support for the development agenda of the Niger Delta region.
The Council further noted the need to give greater attention to women and gender issues at all levels of government in the region for inclusiveness; even as it noted the spate of abandoned and ongoing projects resulting from inadequate funding.
The Council called for concerted efforts to develop a work plan through coordinated efforts by implementing ministries, departments and agencies and emphasized a buy-in of stakeholders in the Niger Delta Development Plan.
The council also noted the importance of education for employment policy as exemplified in Abia State and encourage its replication in other parts of the region.
It emphasised the need for education, sensitisation and training of host communities in the oil producing areas on disaster mitigation by relevant stakeholders.