By ONYEKACHUKWU MELUWA, Warri
The recent comment by the Pan Niger Delta Development Forum (PANDEF), that the Federal Government has abandoned the Niger Delta Development Plan, under the Strategic Implementation Work Plan, (SIWP), by creating another development called the Niger Delta New vision, had been rejected by a group of Civil Liberty Organisations, CSO’s in the region.
Reacting to the statement, a group known as Delta State Civil Society Organizations for Good Governance, (DECGOG), a non-profit, non-partisan platform of Registered Civil Society Organizations working to promote the achievement of Good Governance, Peace and Security and Sustainable Development Goals in Nigerian, had said that though the implementation may be slow, but not abandoned as PANDEF had said.
The group in a press statement made available to journalists in Warri, on Wednesday, December 5, 2018, stated that the Strategic Implementation Work Plan (SIWP), which was developed by an Inter-Ministerial Committee, made off directors from various federal ministries, departments and agencies, and PANDEF representatives, which is to compliments the Federal Government’s efforts in coordinating development interventions in the Niger Delta is still much alive.
“Though the implementation process is slow in progression, the process has not been abandoned by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.”
The statement emphasized that the SIWP is crucial part of the Niger Delta New Vision to develop the region which all from the region are stakeholders.
“We all are stakeholders. So, PANDEF’s claim that the Vice President had abandoned the SIWP for the Niger Delta New Vision clearly misses the point. In addition, the SIWP has always featured prominently in the presidency’s engagements with stakeholders across the region, of which. PANDEF representatives have been invited or participated in.
The group, stated that PANDEF had been involved in all discussions, workshops that is been organised by the office of the Vice President on the implementation of the SIWP, and it will be erroneous for them to accuse the vice president of abandoning the program.
“The Niger Delta New Vision workshop which held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State in November. The workshop, which was hosted by the Office of the Vice President, in continuation of its efforts towards developing the Niger Delta and maintaining peace and stability in the region, had Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), the media and key stakeholders as participants.”
“Key stakeholders, including PANDEF, and CSOs were part of the workshop, and the SIWP implementation was a major agenda at the event. There were similar workshops in Warri, Delta State; and Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, of which CSOs and PANDEF, among other stakeholders, were invited. The SIWP has always been an agenda at these workshops, which has increased robust engagements with key stakeholders on the FG’s Niger Delta New Vision, SIWP and development projects in the region.”
They stated that the Niger Delta New Vision was birthed after the visit of the Vice President the region in 2017, is aimed at developing the region.
“The Niger Delta New Vision, which is aimed at developing the region, was framed after the Vice President’s visits to the region in 2017. Prior to the VP’s visit, in November 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari met with PANDEF leaders so as to address concerns in the region. Also, in 2017, to address issues of socio-economic instability in the Niger Delta, an Inter-Ministerial Committee chaired by the Vice President was set up.”
“It is baffling and misleading for PANDEF to say the SIWP has been abandoned when it is surely on the front burner of discourse by the Presidency in its engagement with stakeholders on its implementation going forward.”
“The SIWP consists of short-term, medium and long-term projects with core focus on 13 development strategic objectives for the region as contained in the Federal Government’s 20-point Agenda and PANDEF’s 16-point Agenda.”
The group stated that they support the process which the federal government is taking to implement the development of the region, as it had shown in some of the development projects of the federal government in the region, like the take-off of the Maritime University, the commencement of the on-going ogoni clean-up, establishment of the modular refinaries and other development projects.
“From the FG’s continuous engagements with stakeholders in the region, it is clear that the SIWP is not a hurriedly conceived idea, but a template within the New Vision for Niger Delta’s development.”
“From the ongoing projects under the New Vision, we believe that President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo remain fully committed to developing the region.”
They stated that the SIWP as a working document is a process, which much work had been done with high level of consultations.
The group however identified the need for adequate funding of projects, and budget appropriations to the relevant government agencies, as this is crucial to the implementation of the SIWP.
The group while lauding the President, Muhammadu Buhari and the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo for their political will to implement polies that will lead to the development of the region, they call on all stakeholders to support the efforts of this government to develop the area through the Niger Delta New Vision and SIWP, which is a demonstration of that commitment of this present federal government.
“We urge PANDEF and other stakeholders in the region to support the Federal Government’s efforts as we all join hands to develop our dear Niger Delta region, and nation.”