The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, on Saturday, hinted of plans by the Nigerian Government to set up industrial clusters in nine states of the Niger Delta.
A statement by the commission’s director of Corporate Affairs, Mr Charles Odili, said the minister stated this during a meeting with the management staff of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
He said that the plan were part of government’s Post-Amnesty Initiative (PAI), which is aimed at ensuring that the ex-agitators, who had completed their training in the amnesty programme, would be engaged.
He said, “The Federal Government is planning to start a PAI, where industrial clusters will be established across the region to engage youths that graduated from the current Amnesty Programme.
“We know that the amnesty programme will come to the end someday, with the youths forced to fall back on NDDC.
“So, the nine Niger Delta states will have the industrial clusters that would absorb between 1,000 to 2,000 youths with different skills set.
“We are going to make provision for this in the 2020 budget of NDDC. To this end, the ministry and the commission will collaborate to realise this goal.”
Akpabio was accompanied by the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Festus Keyamo.
Both of them, according to the statement, lauded NDDC for completing the N24 billion 29-kilometre Ogbia-Nembe road project in Bayelsa.
The minister noted that the road project, constructed by NDDC and Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) connected 14 communities and had opened the area to renewed economic and agricultural growth.
Further noting that President Buhari has given the ministry the mandate to supervise activities of NDDC, Akpabio said, “So, we are now in marriage. Currently, there is a general consensus that NDDC could have done better than it has done in the past.
“We have to work together to ensure that NDDC lives up to the expectations as well as curtail its procurement activities and reduce the number of new projects and programmes.
“As at today, the commission has 12,000 ongoing projects with many of them experiencing funding challenges.
“NDDC must prioritise signature projects in each of the nine Niger Delta states. The projects should be properly funded, monitored and supervised to ensure prompt delivery.”