• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Human capacity, infrastructural development focus areas in Niger Delta – Minister


Human capacity and infrastructural development are the focus areas of the present administration in the Niger Delta region, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, said on Friday.

Speaking at a peace meeting organised by the ministry on Friday in Uyo, Akwa Ibom, Usani said that the ministry had recorded milestones in the past in human capacity development in various sectors such as oil and gas, agriculture, maritime, ICT and entertainment.

According to him, 130 youths who were trained at the International Skills Acquisition Centre in Israel, have been empowered by the Bank of Agriculture in collaboration with the ministry.

“Over 200 youths from the region benefitted from mobile phone assemblage in Calabar; as we speak now, over 60 youths will soon graduate from the same skill in Calabar.’’

He further said that 30 youths were currently undergoing training as seafarers to bridge the skill gap in the maritime sector and very soon they would graduate to be awarded certificates of international standard.

On infrastructural development, Usani said that the ministry was currently working on the provision roads, water supply as well as building capacity in water management and maintenance.

He commended development partners for their continuous support in the region in spite of insecurity and paucity of funds.

He said the Niger Delta Support Programme(NDSP) water and sanitation project in five states in the region, was ready to provide water for the region.

” This forum will also present the opportunity for European Union and other development partners to interface with the government of benefiting states on water programme and other critical issues.

” It might also interest you to know that the ministry has embarked on construction of Skills Acquisition Centres in the nine oil producing states. The major problem militating against the completion is paucity of funds,” he said

In addition, he said that the ministry was seeking collaboration with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCD&MB), with a view to developing institutions of excellence in the oil and gas sector.

Usani also introduced Broad-based Communications as one of the companies wishing to invest in the region on public private partnership basis.

He said that the company was seeking right of way, to put in place fibre optic infrastructure highway in the region.

“The benefits are immense with advatages in e-education, e -health, e -governance, e -agriculture, etc. it will also boost Internally Generated Revenue to the states,” he said.

The minister said that the ministry had acquired 270 hectares in each of the nine states to develop industrial parks.

“Many industry-driven skill acquisition centres are being developed; housing estates are also being built for the widows and the poor,” he said.
Usani acknowledged that Akwa Ibom had shown much commitment to the partnership.

“They did not only donate land they also surveyed it,” he added.

Responding, Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom , who spoke on behalf of the nine governors, commended the minister and said that a lot would have been achieved, if previous ministers had the zeal to collaborate in such a manner.

Emmanuel urged the minister to commence immediate action on the brilliant initiatives.

He decried that fact that no single indigene of the state was recruited in the recent Air Force recruitment.
He urged the minister to work towards the completion of the East-west road.

The governor called for action on the skills acquisition centres to help reduce youths restiveness in the region.

The ministry has collaborated with key national and international groups and is poised to achieving new targets to boost employment, infrastructure provision, peace and stability in the region.(NAN)