In whatever must quell tension, violent, kidnapping attacks on nation’s wealth must have input of some elements of fresh ideas reintroduced in finding lasting solution once, and for all. This is indeed so, when federal government delegation, led by acting president introduced new ideas of fresh air to oil producing communities in the region of Niger delta
The Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo stated this Thursday at a town hall meeting held with elders and people of Akwa Ibom State in continuation of his tour of states in the Niger Delta region.
“I am here as the emissary of President Mohammadu Buhari who after the visit of Pan Niger Delta Forum in November 2016 decided that we must undertake visit to engage with the leadership and people of oil producing communities of the region to hear them and understand their problems and concern”, he said.
He said the tour was to offer communities in the Niger Delta and all oil producing communities a new vision and a new compact in the great source of wealth of the nation.
In this direction, the Acting President said the Federal Government had begun a partnership with oil producing states, LGAs, oil companies, private investors and civil society organisations for the rapid development of all oil producing communities in the country.
“We must treat oil and the oil producing communities as special development areas focusing in particular on how to ensure that that the people see the benefit of the wealth of the land.
“This new vision will define the future of the region. We must make all our oil producing communities’ hub for petro-chemical industries (small and large).We must make these communities hub for refining and related activities”, Osinbajo stated.
Already, the Acting President hinted that the Ministry of Petroleum was collaboration with many major companies working on with illegal refineries in order to establish modular refineries that would be able to produce much better than what they were doing now.
He reiterated that the blessing of oil paradoxically had become a curse or at worst a burden as the means of livelihood of the people like fishing and farming had constantly been destroyed by pollution and revenue earned over the years simply disappeared in many cases.
Osinbajo praised the youth of Akwa Ibom State for not engaging in vandalism and violence as there was no real advantage in destruction of asset located in the community as the result was environmental damage and driving away investment.
He noted the feelings of the state about the absence of the headquarters of International Oil Companies (IOC) operating in the state.
“For the relocation of the headquarters of the IOCs, I direct the Minister of Petroleum to engage with the IOCs on the way forward. I think this is the right thing to do that they should be present here”, he said.
On the non-inclusion of indigenes of the state in the amnesty programme of the federal government, the Acting President said the amnesty office and ministry of petroleum were working on providing the same benefits of amnesty for the youths in the state as provided in other states.
“The ministry of petroleum and the amnesty office are working with individual states; certainly they will be working with Akwa Ibom State to ensure that they also get the benefits.
“Indeed, as a matter of fact in the 2017 budget, there is a provision of N1billion for the Ibaka deep sea port.
“It is a matter we take very seriously and we intend to partner with the Akwa Ibom State Government on the issue”, he assured.
The Acting President called on the people of the state not to wait for the federal government to do everything but should work towards attracting private investment.
“The biggest benefit you can obtain is to attract more investment in this state; it is private investments that drive development. Whatever the federal or state government can produce is only a fraction of what private investment can bring. Private investment is the driver of progress anywhere in the world.
“I want to challenge the young professionals and entrepreneurs who are here that it is time for them to set up entrepreneur council, chamber of commerce for young professional and commercial people.
“It is that chamber of commerce that we can identify those who want to involve in technology, agriculture, oil and gas, manufacturing. A chamber of commerce properly organized will attract investment locally and internationally investment and partnership even funding”, Osinbajo stressed.
Governor Emmanuel equally expressed concern that the Federal Government had not signature project in the state and called on the federal government to assist the state in the establishment of cocoanut refinery.
He complained that the state being the highest producer of crude oil in the country should be considered for a juicy position in the oil sector saying since the creation of NNPC, no indigene of the state had been appointed as the Managing Director.
“If we are the highest producer of crude oil what happen that we never for one day produce the managing director of NNPC. We have the brains, intelligent people that can fill these vacancies. We are eager to occupy some of these positions as a strategy economic important of the nation”, he stressed.