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Why N’Delta summit must hold –Yar’Adua

Posted by By LUCKY NWANKWERE, Abuja on 2008/07/05 | Views: 2788 |

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Why N’Delta summit must hold –Yar’Adua


President Umaru Yar’Adua said yesterday that abandoning the idea of a summit of stake holders in the Niger Delta after much thought and effort had already gone into its conception and planning would not be in the best interest of the people and the country.

President Umaru Yar’Adua said yesterday that abandoning the idea of a summit of stake holders in the Niger Delta after much thought and effort had already gone into its conception and planning would not be in the best interest of the people and the country.

As a prelude to the planned summit, he explained that he had last year set up two committees, one of which he personally heads to get governors from the region and other critical stakeholders to review the Niger Delta Development Master Plan as developed by (NDDC) and work out details of the implementation plan by each of the stakeholders.

The second one headed by Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, he said, was to synthesize all previous attempts and reports on the resolution of the problems of the Niger Delta, engage all the stakeholders, including the militants and elders in the region, work out the modalities for the summit, appoint the chairperson for the steering committee and establish the parameters for discourse.

The president, who spoke through his Special Adviser on Communications, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, said having gone thus far, it would, therefore, not be reasonable to abandon the summit based on the fears being expressed by a segment of the region that it would be another jamboree.

"President Yar’Adua is fully committed to doing everything possible to ensure that it yields positive dividends for peace, security and long overdue progress in the Niger-Delta. As far as achieving the expected outcomes depend on the president’s resolve and commitment, therefore, the summit will certainly not turn out to be another pointless and diversionary jamboree as some fear," he pointed out.

Once the summit has held and achieved its key objective of getting all stakeholders to buy into the present administration’s agenda for the region and guarantee the creation of the right conditions of peace and security for the rapid execution of the agenda, the Federal Government, the president assured, would move very quickly to begin the faithful implementation of the Niger Delta Development Master Plan.

He described the summit as a critical first step and take-off point for the implementation of his administration’s agenda for peace and rapid socio-economic development in the region, saying one of it primary objectives was to evolve an across the board consensus and commitment from all concerned parties to end the incessant violence in the region and engender a much more conducive atmosphere for the massive improvement of infrastructure and social services in the region.

"The president believes that the summit is necessary to obtain a firm and binding commitment from all stakeholders to stop all acts of violence and criminality which have unfortunately turned the Niger-Delta into a no-go-area for many of the construction companies and contractors whose services are required for provision of essential amenities in the region.

"The sad reality of the present situation in the region is that by the time President Yar’Adua assumed office last year, most of the contractors mobilized to sites in the area had abandoned their projects, some after collecting huge sums of money, because of insecurity and the ever-present threats of violence.

"The continual disruption of work by armed gangs, kidnappings of expatriate personnel and family members for ransom, as well as the necessity and cost of providing high level security cover for workers, sometimes involving deployment of troops, have today driven up the cost of executing projects in the Niger Delta by about 300 per cent with no guarantee of completion," he further stated.


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