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Ijaw Youth Council, Paramount Ruler task Federal Government on Completion of East West Road, Niger Delta Development

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.

Stephen Kilebi,
Deputy Director (Press),
5th July, 2019

Opolo-Epie Community Hails Federal Government's Free Medical Outreach in Niger Delta

One of the Niger Delta region oil and gas impacted communities in Bayelsa State, Opolo-Epie, had described the Federal Government's free medical outreach in Bayelsa and other Niger Delta States as a welcome development, saying the gesture had shown government's concern for their plights.

The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, in collaboration with Vision Savers Limited took its on-going free medical initiative on Rollback malaria, eye surgery, distribution of eye glasses, testing and treatment for cancer, testing and distribution of drugs for people living with HIV/AIDS virus, and other ailments to the people of Opolo Epie community in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, over the weekend.

"We are facing a lot of medical challenges, especially eye problems because of the oil and gas pollutions", the people lamented.

Commending the efforts of the Federal Government, the traditional ruler of Opolo-Epie Kingdom, His Royal Highness, King Gabriel Ekezi, said many of his people have suffered several health challenges over the years because of their inability to access medical services in hospitals.

King Ekezi charged his people to cooperate with the medical team to enjoy the free medical services, saying it was the first of its kinds in the area.

Corroborating his counterpart from Opolo, His Royal Majesty, King Akile Nwaku, the Pere of Biseni Kingdom, Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, urged the Federal Government to extend the gesture to the various kingdoms in the State so as to touch thousands of less privileged people who were suffering from various degrees of ailments.

In his remarks at the event, the Director General, State Action Committee on HIV/AIDS (SACA) in Bayelsa State, Ogregade Ileimokumo, lauded the Federal Government for the initiative. He added that the medical outreach had afforded many people from the informal sector in the area, access to free medical services.

The SACA Director General enjoined people to always go for early detection and treatment of HIV/AIDS and other contagious ailments to avoid sudden death.

Earlier, while declaring the event open, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Aminu Aliyu Bisalla, represented by the Bayelsa State Coordinator of the Ministry, Augustine Odia said the Ministry embarked on the medical outreach in order to ensure a healthy living for the people of the Niger Delta region.

Over 5,000 people in the Niger Delta region have so far benefited from the on-going medical outreach by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs in the oil rich region.

Stephen Kilebi,
Deputy Director,
Press & Public Relations,
30th June, 2019

Dialogue, key to development of Niger Delta - Bisalla

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Aminu Aliyu Bisalla, has called on the people of the Niger Delta region to toe the path of dialogue in resolving issues with stakeholders and government as development could not be achieved in the midst of rancour.

He revealed this at a community engagement on peace in the Niger Delta region held at Orogun town, Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State on Thursday.

Bisalla disclosed that the interactive session, themed “Community Engagement and Dialogue for Sustainable Development”, was a fallout of one of the recommendations of the 3rd National Council on Niger Delta which took place in Umuahia, Abia State in 2018 as well as other stakeholders’ fora where participants had called on Federal Government to bridge the communication gap with Niger Deltans’.

Thus, he disclosed that the meeting was necessitated by the need of government to hear directly from the people of the Niger Delta region on what they want in the spirit of developing the region.

The Permanent Secretary, represented by Architect Oyelade Oyeleke David, the Delta State Coordinator of the Ministry stressed that this would guide the Federal Government in initiating programmes and projects that would impact positively on the lives of the people of the community and the region at large.

Bisalla also called on people of the Niger Delta region to sustain the prevailing peace in the region for sustainable development.

In his remarks, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege urged the Federal Government to provide more employment opportunities for Niger Delta youths as they were willing to work and contribute to the development of the region.

Omo-Agege, who was represented by Comrade Chuks Erhime, called on the Federal Government to pay more attention to Orogun Kingdom as it had been neglected for a long time. He lamented the ‘absence of Federal Government’s presence in the community.

Chief Francis Anigabou, a representative of Obugwe of Ezemu Kingdom, commended the Federal Government for organizing the interactive session, which indicated government’s interest of attending to the demands of the community and the Niger Delta region. Chief Anigabou added that Olorogun community was in dire need of hospitals, motorable roads, schools and other basic social amenities, which should be provided by the federal government.

In her remarks, Director Community Development and Education in the Ministry, Mrs. Lauren Braide, said that the interactive session was the desire of the Federal Government to adopt dialogue and community based approach in developing the region as similar sessions were held last year in Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Edo States.

Braide stressed the need for continuous dialogue and regular constructive engagements of critical stakeholders to ensure inclusive growth of the region. She revealed that plans were on to expand the interactive session to more communities in the Niger Delta region with a view to maximize its inherent benefits.

The people of Olorogun Kingdom thanked the Federal Government for the opportunity to hear directly from them through the interactive session.

Stephen Kilebi,
Dep. Director,
Press & Public Relations,
28th June 2019.

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