Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani has solicited the support of the European Union to organise collaborative summits at different levels, for proper orientation of the people and residents of the Niger Delta region.
The Minister made the appeal in Abuja on Tuesday at a meeting with a delegation of the European Union (EU) on Safe Water and Sanitation Intervention Programme in the Niger Delta region.
Usani opined that if the people imbibe such ethical and moral orientation and enlightenment, it would be the foundation of building a society where public facilities were taken as community projects and ownership for maintenance and sustenance.
The European Union (EU) delegation was in the Ministry to arrange the processes of implementing the financial agreement for the takeoff of the EU Safe Water and Sanitation Programme for about 800 selected communities of the Niger Delta region in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo and Rivers States.
The Minister recalled that in June 2016, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the European Union and various stakeholders met in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, where state governments in the region were informed on the need to pay a counterpart funding of 30 per cent for the water and sanitation Programme in the Niger Delta Region. The European Union is to provide the remaining 70 per cent for the execution of the programme.
He reiterated that out of the five (5) states that were captured in the current phase of the intervention programme-Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Rivers; only Rivers was yet to make a commitment for the payment of the counterpart funding. He assured that Rivers State would fulfill its obligation in terms of the counterpart fund. He added that the Ministry will intensify efforts at ensuring that all the benefiting states fulfilled their own parts of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) within the stipulated time.
Usani called for future direct engagement of the Ministry on European Development Fund (EDF) and other support Programmes for the realisation of its mandate for the nine (9) states in the Niger Delta region on health, sustainable energy and access to electricity, rule of law, governance and democracy.
In his remarks, the leader of the EU delegation, Mr. Kurt Cornelis expressed delight over the response of the five states for the takeoff of Water and sanitation programme in the Niger Delta region. Cornelis pledged the support of the European Union for Nigeria as a matter of priority, in curbing the challenges of insurgency, power and other related issues affecting the country.
In his remarks, the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Prof. Claudius Omoleye Daramola thanked the European Union for the decision to collaborate with the five states in the Niger Delta region to provide fund for the water and sanitation programme.
Prof. Daramola requested for the inclusion of the remaining four states in the Niger Delta region which were not captured in this phase of the programme: Ondo, Cross River, Abia and Imo States, in the next phase of the programme.
18th January, 2016