Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has described the over-dependence on oil resources as the cause of the high level of corruption, dwindling economy and redundant human resources base in the country.
Osinbajo also observed that the over-reliance on oil was behind the agitation for resource control, especially in the South-South geo-political zone.
The vice president made these remarks on Monday while inaugurating the Partners for Sustainable Development Forum organised by the Niger Delta Development Commission in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
Osinbajo described the forum as strategic and apt considering the current decline in global oil revenue.
Represented by the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Adeola Ipaye, the vice president added that the inauguration of the forum was coming at a time when the implementation of the new globally adopted Sustainable Development Goals were about to commence.
Osinbajo said, “The country’s over-dependence on oil is only the cause of the downturn of the economy for now; it has been responsible for the emergence of redundant human resources base and high level of corruption.
“It is also at the root of agitation for resource control, particularly from the South-South. The theme of the forum could not have been more apt, coming at a time that we have a global decline in oil revenue, especially in a country such as ours that has total dependence on oil for survival.”
He, however, expressed the Federal Government’s commitment to the development of the Niger Delta region.
“Realising the concept of sustainable development comes with numerous challenges, especially in the Niger Delta region that represents the world’s third largest wetlands, with several years of unaddressed oil pollution issues that have hindered agricultural growth of the region as well as affected the general health of the populace,” the vice president said.
On the clean-up of Ogoniland, Osinbajo explained that the Federal Government had begun the exercise in the area and other seriously affected communities, adding that it was putting measures in place to alleviate the impact of the areas already polluted.
He expressed the need to intensify activities in the rural areas with a view to improving socio-economic well-being through agricultural and related rural enterprises, and provide access to markets and the rural areas by improving the road network and value chain development.
Earlier, the Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission, Bassey Dan-Abia, listed poor funding as one of the challenging facing the intervention agency, even as he maintained that the NDDC should not be seen as an alternate government.
Dan-Abia urged the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company to initiate the process of paying its own contribution to the funding of the commission based on the fact it was among the oil and gas producing companies operating within the Niger Delta region.
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