From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Umana Okon Umana and the Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (retd), have resolved to formulate a common blueprint to develop the Niger Delta, end pipeline vandalism and illegal bunkering.
The duo agreed that it was high time the ministry, PAP and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) worked in tandem to develop common practical template to tackle the problems in the region, especially oil theft related activities.
Speaking when Dikio and PAP officials visited him in Abuja, Umana said such joint rescue plan was required because oil theft and pipeline vandalism were undermining the peace and security of the nation.
He said: “Those of us in the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the Presidential Amnesty Programme, the NDDC and other stakeholders, including community leaders, should work together to address the burning issue in our region, which is the issue of oil theft and pipeline vandalisation.
“I would like all of us to sit down and come up with a solution to this problem. I challenge all of us to work together to assist the Federal Government to solve the problem.”
A statement signed by Dikio’s Special Adviser, Media, Neotabase Egbe, quoted Umana as saying that the NDDC and the ministry would consolidate their intervention plans into one blueprint for the holistic and more effective development of the region.
He acknowledged that Dikio was right in his argument that the region would be better off if the various agencies charged with developing it worked in one accord.
The minister offered to work with Dikio to achieve the objectives of its recovery plan, especially in the areas of training.
Earlier, Dikio informed the minister that the leadership of PAP embarked on the visit to congratulate him on his appointment and to seek areas of support and collaboration.
He said it was time all the agencies established for the improvement of the region began to work together for optimal impact.
Dikio identified infrastructural development as the key element in efforts to guarantee peace and stability in the Niger Delta region.
He added that the Amnesty Programme had developed a strategy to wean youths in the region from deviancy and militancy through an orientation plan targeting youths from the age of 13 years.
Dikio said the youth reorientation project was part of the stabilisation plan that would create the right atmosphere for development partners to engage with and assist the region in its quest for development.