The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Nsima Ekere, said on Wednesday that plans were underway to establish a Niger Delta Development Bank.
Ekere, who disclosed this in Port Harcourt during a meeting with ex-agitators and youths in nine states of the Niger Delta region, explained that the bank would provide soft loans for youths in the area, who had undergone various trainings, to help them grow in business.
He observed that 90 per cent of Niger Delta youths, who acquired different skills during training, remained unemployed due to lack of adequate funds to start business.
Ekere, however, appealed to the youths in the region to shun crime, adding that investors will not want to bring their business to an unsafe area.
“The question I want to ask is that how come 90 percent of Niger Delta youths that were trained in various skills are still unemployed? The answer is that when these youths are trained, they are not given enough money to start business.
“Based on this, we are planning to set up a Niger Delta Development Bank. This will enable the trained youths of the region to access funds there. The conditions will not be stringent as they are in normal banks.
“However, one of the things we must do for ourselves is to make Niger Delta safe again. We must find a way to guarantee the security of Niger Delta for our own good. The biggest refinery in the world would be built in South-West, Nigeria.
“This is so because investors believe the Niger Delta region is not safe. We must create a conducive environment for investors to come back to the region because no investor will bring his money to an unsafe place,” the NDDC MD said.
He urged the youths in the oil rich region to key into the Federal Government’s plan to embrace modular refineries and shun refining through illegal means.
He added that the use of modular refineries would put an end to environmental degradation experienced in the region due to illegal refining.
In his remark, one of the youth leaders at the event, Chief Fred Obe, commended the NDDC Board for organising an interactive forum with former agitators and youths of the region.
Obe maintained that there would be a united platform known as the Coalition of Ex-Agitators/Youth Leaders’ Parliament that would be interfacing with government on how to move the Niger Delta region forward.