COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED AT THE END OF THE 2ND NATIONAL COUNCIL ON NIGER DELTA HELD AT THE INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR CULTURE AND EVENTS (THE DOME), AKURE, ONDO STATE FROM 7TH – 14TH SEPTEMBER, 2017
The 2ND meeting of the National Council on Niger Delta facilitated by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs (MNDA), in collaboration with Ondo State Government, was held at the International Centre for Culture and Events (The Dome), Akure, Ondo State, from 7th to 14th September, 2017. The Council Meeting was declared open by the Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON and chaired by the Honourable Minister, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs
(MNDA), Pastor Usani Uguru Usani. The theme of the Council Meeting is ‘’FastTracking the Development of the Niger Delta Region: Options and Prospects’’. The Council, made up of 53 members drawn from the Nine (9) states of the Niger Delta region, relevant Federal and States Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), representatives of Development Partners, Civil Society Organizations and International Oil Companies, is the policy advisory body that coordinates all development efforts, plans and strategies in the Niger Delta Region.
Preceding the Council meeting was a 3-day Technical Committee session held from 8th – 10th September, 2017. The technical session was declared open by His Excellency, the Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, ably represented by His Excellency, the State Deputy Governor, Hon. Agboola Ajayi. The Technical Session chaired by the Overseeing Director, Office of the Permanent Secretary, MNDA Mr. Moses C. Okpo, evaluated 60 memoranda received and recommended 40 for consideration and approval of the Council. Five (5) papers on critical issues relating to the theme of the Meeting were presented and discussed at the plenary sessions.
2. The Council noted with deep appreciation the profound commitment by various stakeholders through execution of several interventionist projects in the region. The 60 memoranda received and appraised at the meeting confirmed the unwavering interest in the development of the region.
3. The Council noted the concerns expressed at the slow pace of development in the region despite the huge investments by various tiers of government, development partners, IOCs and civil society organizations.
4. The Council equally noted the tough times the nation is currently passing through that results in dwindling resources and its concomitant negative effect on the social and economic growth of the region.
5. The Council considers the meeting as a unique opportunity to review the level of development, articulate robust policies for inclusive growth and plans that are well-coordinated and respond to the needs of all, as well as, renew commitment for collective vision towards accelerated development of the region.
6. Specifically, Council notes the following from the 40 memoranda that were recommended for its consideration:
a. The success stories in Agricultural programmes and projects implemented by MNDA;
b. The efforts of the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) in combating insecurity in the maritime environment of the Niger Delta region and urged it to ensure sustainability;
c. The formulation of Technical Review and Policy Framework by MNDA for short and medium term programmes for youths in the region as articulated by the
National Youth Council;
d. The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) establishment of Oil & Gas Parks in all the States in the Niger Delta and pursue implementation of the project to logical conclusion;
e. The development of a tourist centre at Araromi Sea-side in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State and encourage the LG to seek partnership with relevant MDAs, development partners and private sector including PPP for funding; and
f. The undertaking by the Federal Government to vigorously pursue more developmental programmes in the region.
7. At the end of the meeting, Council approved:
(i) Encouragement of the nine (9) States to adopt and domesticate the Niger
Delta Action Plan (NDAP), leverage on the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), and seek innovative ways to improve transparency and accountability in the management of programmes.
(ii) The establishment of Niger Delta Oil Spillage Management Fund, as well as, commencement of systematic rehabilitation and restoration programme for conservation of wetlands in the Niger Delta region.
(iii) The adoption of Public Private Partnership (PPP) as a major funding option to mobilize private sector resources for accelerated development of the
Niger Delta region;
(iv) The development and implementation of the Niger Delta Region Climate Change Programme and Action Plan (NDRCCP – PAC) to mitigate and reduce the impact of climate change in the region, as well as, protect shorelines of coastal communities.
(v) The commissioning of a reconnaissance survey of the entire coastal communities in the Niger Delta region;
(vi) The coordination and harmonization of socio-economic infrastructural projects by MNDA in partnership with States and other Stakeholders
operating in the region to avoid overlaps and duplication of efforts;
(vii) Support and encourage the partnership between Federal Government and all relevant groups that aims at the attainment of sustainable peace, development and stability of the Niger Delta region;
(viii) The establishment of a Youth Sports Engagement Programme (YSEP) including swimming to promote peaceful co-existence, harmony and stability, as well as, generate employment among the youth in the region;
(ix) The establishment of a Cancer Diagnostic and Care Centre in each of the nine (9) states, raise cancer awareness amongst women, train health workers to manage the diagnostic centre in collaboration with EU and relevants MDAs, as well as, encourage state governments to make adequate budgetary provisions for establishment of Cancer Centres in their
2018 budget appropriations and beyond;
(x) The implementation of inter-ministerial collaboration on roads infrastructural development programmes among the Federal and State Ministries of Works in the Niger Delta Region to maximize its potential benefits;
(xi) Council to convey to the nine (9) States to prioritize strengthening of physical planning institutions and deployment of modern technology for physical planning and urban management in their respective states, to fast track orderly and sustainable urban development which are capable of mitigating natural disasters like flooding;
(xii) The MNDA to synergize with National Inland Waterways Authority and integrate all efforts aimed at developing water transportation in the Niger
(xiii) The design and implementation of inclusive Community Surveillance and Community Peace Architecture that builds on effective and efficient community-based early warning and early response system for durable peaceful co-existence and stability in the region;
(xiv) The diversification of the economy of the Niger Delta Region through engagement of Youth in agriculture to create a robust economy that guarantees jobs and wealth creation;
(xv) The consolidation of all youth programmes including youth empowerment programme, such as, technical and vocational skill acquisition, entrepreneurship and small and medium enterprises, to activate local economy in the region;
(xvi) The sourcing of alternative funding for the completion of skill acquisition centres, as well as, continuous training of youths in relevant skills in all the
States of the Niger Delta region;
(xvii) The carrying out of interventionist advocacy to relevant MDAs to complete all Federal Government on-going projects in the Niger Delta region;
(xviii) The establishment of two hundred (200) hectares farm settlement in each state of the region to increase food production and empowerment of, at least, 200 farmers;
(xix) The collaboration, building of synergy and partnership with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Community Based Organization (CBOs) working on social and economic development of the Niger Delta region;
(xx) Adoption of the Strategic Implementation Work Plan that aims at stabilizing security situation, promote socio-economic development, encourage investments and growth in the oil and gas sector and present same to the
Federal Executive Council for approval;
(xxi) Encouragement of MNDA to support the establishment of Industrial Parks by the nine (9) states to boost employment and advance infrastructural development in the region;
(xxii) Establishment of National Youth Empowerment Endowment Funds and creation of biometric data bank to register youth for effective planning, monitoring and evaluation of youth programmes in the region;
(xxiii) The facilitation and advocacy for the buy-in of Niger Delta States to build Truck Transit Parks for ease of transportation of industrial goods in the region; and
(xxiv) The mainstreaming of women in the socio-economic development programmes and establishment of special economic empowerment fund for women in the region.
6. Council particularly expressed deep appreciation to the President and
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,
President Muhamadu Buhari, GCFR and Vice President Prof. Yemi
Osinbajo, SAN, GCON for their relentless efforts towards the development of the
Niger Delta region. The Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN is highly appreciated for his laudable support and hospitality for the success of the 2nd Council Meeting.
Issued at Akure, Ondo State on this day the 14th of September, 2017.