Nigeria to unveil road map for Niger Delta development

Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Uguru Usani
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Uguru Usani

The Federal Government will soon unveil a comprehensive road map for the development of the Niger Delta, a Presidency source said on Sunday. The road map is the high point of the implementation planning meeting on March 17, between the Federal Government and Niger Delta stakeholders in conjunction with multinational oil companies.

The meeting took place at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo presiding.

According to the source, the road map, which will sign-post the transformation of the region, comprises a diligent, new and comprehensive work plan that will address marginalization and underdevelopment in the region.

The broad areas of initial interventions being considered in the plan include the take-off of the Maritime University and the attendant financial grant, establishment of Modular Refineries including the engagement of the illegal refiners.

Also in the plan is the continuation and revamping of the Pipeline Protection contracts; a progressive review of the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme, revisiting the Abandoned Projects in the region; and the Clean-up of Ogoni land.

The implementation of the work plan would be anchored by the Federal Government in conjunction with the relevant state governments, development partners, the private sector and multinational organisations operating in the region.

In the plan, the Federal Government has activated a process for the smooth take-off of the Maritime University, Gbaramatu, with the Petroleum Trust Development Fund as the lead agency in the implementation.

In this regard, the Federal Government is considering the release of a substantial take-off grant for the university while awaiting the conclusion of legislation on the establishment of the university by the National Assembly.

According to the source the Presidency has directed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources in conjunction with the Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF) and other stakeholders to design an effective funding model for the university.

The source also said that the modular refineries being planned in the region using operators of illegal refineries would soon commence operation.

In the plan, the refineries would be private sector driven but operators of such illegal refineries could become shareholders with additional investments made in their businesses.

The presidency had directed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, as the anchor of the modular refinery initiative, to work in conjunction with the NDDC and state governments in the region to actualize the goal.

The source also said the presidency had directed the NDDC to evolve a strategy that would organise all modular refinery operators in the region into cooperatives to enable them to access better funding and other support from relevant organizations.

As part of the region’s comprehensive development plan the Federal Government planned to complete all abandoned projects in the South-South.

The source said that the presidency had directed the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing to produce a comprehensive report of all road projects in the South-South region to enable government to intervene.

The source added that as a feature in the new Niger Delta vision, the Federal Government would revisit the issue of pipeline protection contracts.

As a result the presidency had directed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to look at the protection contracts to ensure that host communities were also incorporated while ensuring a comprehensive review of existing ones.