Delta @25: Developing Niger Delta Region and Matters Arising

Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) –By Idowu Uzor: 
At 25 years, it is obvious that Delta State is still grappling to survive and it’s people worried and troubled about the slow pace of development in the state.

The situation, however, is not different in the entire Niger Delta region, more so when the region has been the sacrificial lamb whose resources the entire nation has continued to depend on for over five decades.

The region often described as the land of abundant human and natural resources has it’s people walloping in poverty, threatened by erosion, diseases, premature death, illiteracy, unemployment, hunger, kidnapping, various dimensions of violent actions, youth restiveness, armed robbery, piracy, oil bunkering and poor infrastructural development among others.

The duo of Prof. Patrick Mouboghare and Barr. Raymos Guanah former Delta State Commissioners for Basic and Secondary Education and that of Lands and Survey respectively, blamed lack of political will, poor terrain, insincerity on the part of Federal Government as the bane of developing Niger Delta region.

They opined that the region deserves special attention from the government considering the nature of terrain and the bulk of revenue been generated from the area to sustain the country for more than 50 years.

They also hold that the impacts of the oil explorations and the exploitation has left the region worst instead.

They stressed that neither the 13 per cent derivation, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) nor the Amnesty programme could bring the kind of development needed in the area.

They were also worried that most government policies and programmes were not properly designed and adequately funded to meet the developmental need of the region, adding that the long period of neglects had continued to trigger violent reactions in the region.

The respondents condemned the exploration and exploitative nature of the multinational corporations in the region and called for immediate enforcement of the law to cause them to remediate and clean up the environment and to make them pay for the damages caused the people.

They also called for a true federalism as permanent solution to these decades of challenges to enable the Niger Delta people build the region with their oil wealth, adding that when the oils dry up, the region would be at the receiving end.

Prof. Mouboghare in his reaction blamed the difficult terrain and government insincerity for the poor pace of development of the Niger Delta region.

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