Niger Delta Amnesty not sustainable –Minister

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The Federal Government, yesterday, disclosed it would invest about N1.7 trillion in the Niger Delta region before 2021 to address developmental challenges and create employment for the teeming population.

The Special Adviser on Niger Delta Affairs to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Charles Achodo, who made the disclosure at the 7th Sustainability in the Extractive Industry (SITEI) conference organised by CSR-in-Action in Abuja, said the money would be invested by the government in collaboration with International Oil Companies (IOCs) and some government agencies.

According to him, the current Presidential Amnesty Programme of the Federal Government with fat budgetary provision remains unsustainable, as it does not totally address the challenges of the region to guarantee lasting peace.

“The amnesty is very clear, but it cannot be a solution to the state of insecurity in the Niger Delta. Rather, you use the amnesty to create an asymmetrical environment. A fragile environment does not like asymmetry, it likes more of a symmetrical response.

“A situation where you are paying people N65,000 every month to keep quiet does not solve the problem. If you multiply N65,000 by the number of militants and by the number of years the programme had been running, you are looking at close to N50 billion. That is a huge amount of money. It is not sustainable and it is not guaranteeing you what you expect in the place,” he noted.

Achodo lamented that $40 billion had been invested in 11,000 projects in the Niger Delta over the last 10 years without concrete impact, noting that this led to the launch of the Niger Delta Development Compact by the Federal Government to mobilise N1.7 trillion to the region in the short to medium term.
He said the $40 billion was invested through the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and other government agencies.

He further stated that from the government, to the IOCs, to the people, there is a lack of active citizenship participation in asking solid questions regarding how funding is deployed.

He said, “the Niger Delta has become a cacophony of voices without a purpose, it has also become a region with a cacophony of all kinds of projects.

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