Niger Delta Should Have Special Development Status – VP Osinbajo

VP Osinbajo Visits Gbaramatu Kingdom in Niger DeltaNigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday paid a visit to the Gbaramatu Kingdom in Delta State, recommending that the region should have a special development zone status.

Osinbajo was accompanied by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu and was received in Delta State by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.

In his address of welcome, entitled: ‘We must prepare for the future’, he advocated sustainable development for the Niger Delta region.

“An Area Of Poor Infrastructure”

“The Niger Delta that we see today, including this great kingdom, is an area of poor infrastructure – few schools, few hospitals, and severe pollution.

“The Niger Delta of today, is one of daily pipeline vandalism. In 2014 alone, there were over 3,700 incidents of pipeline vandalism.

“The Niger Delta of today is one where, aside from environmental degradation, between 1998 and 2015, over 20,000 persons have died from fire incidents, arising from breach of the pipeline.

“Everywhere you go, there are signboards of proposed projects, mostly uncompleted or abandoned altogether.

“Many of the initiatives to change the story, have not been able to make the big changes required,” the Vice President stated.

Citing several examples, dating back to the 60’s, down to the present day amnesty programmes, the Professor Osinbajo said many of such programmes have not been able to meet up with their objectives.

However, he charged the people, stressing that “the future, is not a future of environmental degradation, poor infrastructure, poor roads”and the likes.

Rather, it is a future of “progress and development” but according to him, “there is no time, as the future is already here”.

He then stated that in order to ensure that the future is not worse than today, three things must happen.

Also he believes that while the government plays its own part, the people have to combine efforts with it, in order to realise the desired development.

One of such things, he stressed, was that the people “must recognise the unique environmental and terrain challenges of the Niger Delta.

“We must recognise that the Niger Delta is a special development zone for this nation.

“It means that the Federal and State governments, the National Assembly representatives, along-side the NDDC and the civil society representatives, of the Niger Delta people must sit together, develop, plan and fund an arrangement for rapid development,” he stressed.

Also, in furtherance of development in the region, Professor Osinbajo revealed that the Pan Niger Delta Forum had come up with 16 dialogue issues that would be extremely helpful in ascertaining its key development priorities.

He stated that the region must also hold some of the international oil companies, to their agreement with host communities.

“We must promote indigenous participation in oil companies,” he added.

He also hinted that in the 2017 budget, provision had been made for the commencement of the Lagos-Calabar railway. (the coastal railway).

Mr Osinbajo is expected to also visit a number of oil communities across some Niger Delta states, where he is expected to address issues affecting the region and bring an end to militant attacks on Nigeria’s oil and gas facilities.

According to a statement from the Office of the Vice President, Professor Osinbajo would also be visiting Bayelsa and Rivers States at a later date to be announced.

Spokesperson for the Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, described the move as further demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s readiness and determination to comprehensively address the Niger Delta situation.

Osinbajo Commences Interactions With Oil-Producing Communities

Osinbajo Commences Interactions With Oil-Producing CommunitiesVice President Yemi Osinbajo will be visiting a number of oil communities across some Niger Delta states starting on Monday, January 16, 2017, when he travels to Delta State.

According to a statement from the Office of the Vice President, Prof. Osinbajo would also be visiting Bayelsa and Rivers States at a later date to be announced soon.

Spokesperson for the Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, described the move as further demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s readiness and determination to comprehensively address the Niger Delta situation.

He stated: “At these visits, the Vice President will lead high-level delegations of the Federal Government that will interact with leaders and representatives of the oil-producing communities in continuation of ongoing outreach efforts of the Buhari administration towards a long lasting and permanent resolution of the Niger Delta crisis.

“The Buhari presidency is fully committed to having an effective dialogue and positive engagement that will end the crisis in the oil-producing areas, and believes that these visits would further boost the confidence necessary for the attainment of peace and prosperity in the areas and the Nigerian nation in general.”

Buhari’s Presidency Will Energise Nigeria’s Economy — Osinbajo

Osinbajo, EconomyVice President Yemi Osinbajo says the 500 billion Naira Social Investment programmes of the Buhari presidency is a means to energize the economy and deal with issues of poverty in the country.

He said this on Tuesday while receiving a delegation of the Muslim Lawyers Association at the Presidential Villa.

Prof. Osinbajo said that the social investment programmes would train people, create jobs, feed school children from homegrown farming and grant soft loans to traders, artisans and market women.

“All these are ways and means of energising the economy and deal with some of the harshest problems like poverty,” said the Vice President.

He added that despite the current economic conditions in the country there is great hope.

“We are here at this time because that is the will of God to deliver the goods and do the right things for this country. It is very interesting the situation we find ourselves, but there is great hope.”

The Vice President said both the President and himself are committed to a new united Nigeria, populated by a ‘New Tribe’ that would be united across otherwise divisive lines be it ethnic or religious.

He added that Nigerians must fight corruption which is responsible for the current situation of things in the country, stressing that if it is not challenged, corruption would worsen the situation.

He added that as a people, Nigerians “should never be divided on religion and ethnicity, everyone is free to practice their own faith. When we come together as a people we must advance the interest of our nation.”

Earlier, the President of the Muslim Lawyers Association, Dr. Kamal Alhaji Daud, praised both the President and the Vice President, pledging the association’s support in the fight against corruption and also prayed for wisdom and strength for the Buhari presidency.

The group had held a lecture entitled Service Above Self, in honour of the Vice President.

FG Targets 8 Million People For Its 2016 Social Intervention Spending

PresidencyThe federal government would be directly impacting the lives of more than eight million Nigerians in different social investment 2016 budget spending that would provide succour and be a ready-made palliative to ordinary Nigerians.

This disclosure was made on Saturday night by the Senior Special Assistant for Media and Publicity to the Vice President, Mr Laolu Akande, in an interaction with the press in Abuja.

He gave new details and a breakdown of the interventions and palliatives, some of which he said would be starting in a matter of weeks thus:

  1. The direct payment of N5,000 monthly to one million extremely poor Nigerians for 12 months as provided for in the 2016 budget for which N68.7B has been appropriated.
  1. The direct provision of very soft loan -cash for market women, men and traders, including artisans and Agric workers. This would be for a total of 1.76m Nigerians, without the requirement for conventional collateral. Some of the traders will likely get about N60,000.

A total sum of N140.3B has already been appropriated for this in the budget

  1. Payment of between N23,000 to N30,000 per month to 500,000 unemployed graduates who would be trained, paid and deployed to work as volunteer teachers, public health officers and extension service workers among other responsibilities.

They would also be given electronic devices to empower them technologically both for their assignments and beyond.

Similarly, 100,000 artisans would also be trained and paid.

N191.5B has been set aside for this in the passed budget.

  1. At least 5.5 million Nigerian primary school children -ie starting first in 18 states – three per geopolitical zone, would be fed for 200 school days under the free Homegrown School Feeding Programme.

N93.1B has been appropriated for this in the 2016 budget.

  1. 100,000 tertiary students in Science Technology Engineering & Maths – STEM, plus Education will partake in the N5.8B already provided for this education grant in the budget. This payment would also be paid directly to the students.

When added together this year alone, more than 8 million Nigerians would be benefiting from the Social Investment budget.

Akande, who works from the Office of the Vice President, said that the 500billion Naira social investment programmes of the Buhari administration is a ready-made palliative to lift Nigerians from poverty and economic hardship.

“Long before now the Presidency has made adequate arrangements in the 2016 budget to ensure that Nigerians are lifted from poverty and hardship,” the spokesperson stated.

This will not only assuage the current pains arising from the new fuel pricing regime, but will provide ongoing social safety nets for over 8 million Nigerians this year alone, according to Akande.

He added that this is beside the jobs that would be created by the infrastructural projects that would be restored and the new ones that would soon be taking off.

“The Buhari presidency is keen to ensure that Nigerians are lifted and that if necessary on an ongoing basis, palliatives measures would always been considered to address the conditions of the people.”