Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has called on the Federal Government to fast tract the completion of the East West road project, especially the Bayelsa State axis of the project, in order to reduce the sufferings of the people of the area.
The Chairman, Central Zone of the Ijaw Youth Council, Mr. Kennedy Olorogun made this call at the Strategic Community Engagement for Sustainable Peace in the Niger Delta, held at Biogbolo Community, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on Thursday.
Mr. Olorogun said the Council was not happy with the slow pace of work on the Bayelsa axis of the East West road, which according to him, had been responsible for a number of accidents and loss of human lives on the road.
The Bayelsa State axis of the East West road spans from Ahoada in Rivers State to Kaiama in Bayelsa State, which is section 2, Sub-Section 2 of the flagship project.
The Ijaw Youth leader called on the Federal Government to speed up the completion of the project and also urged the government to shift its attention to the development of the rural communities in the Niger Delta region, through the provision of social-infrastructural facilities like portable water, electricity, health centres, school buildings, employment opportunities, among others.
He added that the rural people borne much of the burdens of development challenges in the oil-rich region.
In the same vein, the Paramount Ruler of Biogbolo community, His Royal Highness, Osain Paul, opined that the Niger Delta region was the poorest in the Nigerian Federation, urging the Federal Government to equip the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs with needed resources to carry out its mandate of developing the region.
He said the level of poverty was the major cause of kidnappings, vandalisation of public assets and other prevailing vices in the Niger Delta region.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Aminu Aliyu Bisalla, represented by the Director Legal Services in the Ministry, Barrister Gregory Zi Fulus, attributed financial constraints to the completion of the East West road and other on-going projects in the region. He stressed that more efforts would be put in place to complete the East West road Project which he said had been on-going for years.
The Permanent Secretary added that apart from the East-West road, many other development projects were on-going in Bayelsa State and other States in the region, which included Kolokuma, Amassoma- Igbedi road, shore protection of Igbounbiri and Oboribeighe in Kolokuma Local Government Area, provision of water/reticulation in Odoni Community, Sagbama Local Government Area, design of Jetty at Kuala, among others.
"It is pertinent for stakeholders to work together at this crucial time in order to eliminate obstacles to development in the region," Bisalla reiterated.
Earlier, the Director Community Development and Education in the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Mrs. Lauren Braide, said:" A clear understanding of the dynamics of developmental challenges in the Niger Delta region and enhanced collaboration with communities are key to achieving a peaceful and better secured Niger Delta."
Mrs. Braide who was represented by an Assistant Director in the Ministry, Mr. Muktar Garki added that the community engagements by the Ministry were necessitated by the need to further enlighten the people of the Niger Delta region on policies that were geared towards regional development, stability and deliberate strategies to improve the quality of life of the people of the Niger Delta region.
Meanwhile, the Bayelsa State Commissioner of Police, Aminu Saleh, represented by the Divisional Police Officer, Ekeki Division, Dr. Rita Abbey decried lack of adequate security gadgets for the police in the State. He called on members of the variuos communities in the state to join hands with the police to combat crimes in order to enjoy peace and security in every nook and cranny of the state.
Deputy Director (Press),
5th July, 2019