BY CHRIS OCHAYI
…urges them to take a cue from Niger Delta leaders …
ABUJA—The Federal Government, Tuesday, asked Northern leaders to take a cue from the Niger Delta leaders who went to the creeks at the height of insecurity in the region to persuade militants to drop their arms and accept the amnesty programme.
Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr. Labaru Maku, gave this challenge at a briefing on the forthcoming stakeholders’ conference and maiden meeting of the council on Niger Delta in Uyo, adding that northern leaders have vital roles to play in halting insecurity occasioned by activities of Boko Haram in the region.
He said the relative peace in the Niger Delta today was realised because some leaders in the region risked their lives to go to the creeks, pointing out that peace could be realised in the north if the leaders meet members of the Boko Haram to capitalise on the current dialogue and amnesty offer by the government.
Noting that the amnesty programme in the Niger Delta did not come easily, Maku further tasked the leaders to put in more efforts to ensure that peace prevail in the north.
Maku said the revenue from the Niger Delta region accounted for over 80 percent of the nation’s resources, adding, Nigeria as a nation wouldn’t have made any remarkable achievement or development without the resources from the region.
In his own remarks, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, explained that the essence of the stakeholder’s conference was to open doors of opportunities to communities, local government councils and the state governments.
“The ministry’s objective for the National Council on Niger Delta is to launch the Niger Delta Action Plan, set development milestones to be achieved in the next few months and years and create a shared ownership for delivering tangible results among stakeholders.
“We have seen the relative peace and stability in the region and the subsequent return of economic and social normalcy following the implementation of the amnesty programme. This peaceful state provides us the window of opportunity to intensify development intervention measures in the region.
“Our objective is to consolidate and sustain current security situation by addressing the development challenges in the region in a way that is coherent and coordinated”.
Orubebe added that, “the approach proposed in the Niger Delta Action plan will challenge and change our ways of doing development work in the region. It will require strategic convergence, coordination and collaboration in the development policies and programmes by stakeholders and partners operating in the region”.
“To achieve the expected success demands, we will involve the people of the Niger Delta in a participatory development process so that development strategies will reflect their aspirations and priorities. The people of the Niger Delta are both foundation and beneficiaries of the Niger Delta Action Plan”.
Orubebe recalled that the group, which articulated the development concept for the region, include some staff of the ministry and representatives of development partners, including UNDP, World Bank, USAID, EU, DFID, as well as the Embassy of Netherlands.
Comments are moderated. Please keep them clean and brief.