Niger Delta: Presidency gives update on efforts in region

The Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, is set to commence the admission of students into the university for the 2017/2018 academic year This was one of the highlights of the meeting of the Niger Delta Inter-Ministerial Committee on Friday, called to assess progress on the implementation of the Buhari administration’s New Vision for Niger Delta. The meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja was chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN. A statement by his spokesman, Laolu Akande said a total of 196 students have so far been accepted into the university to commence their academic programmes, while 76 applications are still pending. Lectures are expected to fully commence later in April.

President Muhammadu Buhari had approved an increase in the take-off grant allocated to the university from the N2bn earlier announced to N5bn. This sum was included in the 2018 budget presented to the National Assembly in November 2017. The meeting was also briefed on the progress of the modular refineries. One set of modular refinery package shipment has since arrived Nigeria, and after undergoing clearance at customs, would be installed in Delta State; while another set, which is expected to arrive the country in April this year, would be installed in Rivers State. The operation of the modular refineries would include the involvement of communities where they are located.

Prof. Osinbajo said this would ensure that communities benefit directly from the refineries which would help create jobs and engage youths in the region. In the same vein, the NDDC reported at the meeting its progress in the implementation of its projects in the region. In 2017, a total of 372 projects covering roads, bridges, electricity, water, amongst others, were completed by the commission. The development projects include the 25.7 km Nembe-Ogbia road, which would be commissioned soon; the construction of Otueke Internal roads in Ogbia LGA, Bayelsa State; Kira Dere Mogho road and Bridge in Gokana LGA, Rivers State. It also includes the construction of Iselu-Okaigben-Idung-Boko-Onicha Ugbo road, in Edo State; the Orie Ukwu Amaoji market road, Isiala Ngwa North LGA, Abia State and the Ashikem-Ufono-Betwaswan road in Obudu, Cross River State.

It also includes the construction of Iselu-Okaigben-Idung-Boko-Onicha Ugbo road, in Edo State; the Orie Ukwu Amaoji market road, Isiala Ngwa North LGA, Abia State and the Ashikem-Ufono-Betwaswan road in Obudu, Cross River State. The Commission is also working with all related parties, including AMCON, to ensure the establishment of Amakpe modular refinery to be installed in Eket, Akwa Ibom State. The refinery has a capacity of producing 6,000 barrels per day. The NDDC has also established Job Placement centres which is expected to engage about 208,000 youths in the Niger Delta. To help reduce unemployment and youth restiveness in the region, the NDDC centre would match existing vacancies with available skills within the region.

On the progress of Ogoni clean-up, the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) under the Ministry of Environment, is set to commence the procurement process for contracting experts for the remediation and clean-up of impacted sites. This process is open to competent national and international companies involved in environment, water and livelihood projects. Also, the final draft of the Strategic Implementation Work Plan (SIWP), which provides a framework for the development of the Niger Delta, was also submitted to the committee.

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