- FG to Establish Niger Delta Development Bank
The federal government is working towards the establishment of a Niger Delta Development Bank to speed up the development of the region, the Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Nsima Ekere, has said.
Addressing representatives of youth groups and ex-agitators from the Niger Delta reign at the headquarters of NDDC in Port Harcourt Wednesday, Ekere said the proposed bank would also assist people from the region, especially youths, to participate in the establishment of modular refineries in the region.
He said one of the programmes of the federal government is the establishment of modular refineries in the Niger Delta region to deter youths in the area from involvement in illegal refineries.
“Instead of doing the small illegal refineries, government wants to help us with the technology to do this bigger so that we will be involved in refining in such a way that the environment will not be destroyed,” he said
He however noted that people in the region, especially youths, would have challenges getting enough capital to get involved in the modular refineries.
His words: “The challenge will be how the youth of the region will get enough money to buy into these modular refineries. Federal government has mandated the NDDC to work out the modalities with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources. We want to ensure that whether the youth have money or not, they can key into this. So, we are going to set up a Niger Delta Development Bank to drive the development of the region.
And intet-ministerial committee has also been set up in the presidency to look into all the issues raised during the visit of the vice president to the region.”
He reiterated the commitment of the commission to the economic empowerment and development of youths of the Niger Delta region.
He however called on the youths to assist the federal government and security agencies in creating an environment that would be conducive to attract investors back to the region.
Ekere stated that part of the economic empowerment and development for the youths of the region is the development of illegal refineries scattered in communities in the region to modular refineries with state-of-the-art technologies.
He said: “The NDDC was set up by the federal government to address the problem of underdevelopment of the Niger Delta region. In addition to developing the physical infrastructure of the region, the NDDC will develop the human capital in the region. One of the key areas of the development is the young people.
“The major reason for the meeting with the youths is to rub minds and agree on an sustainable economic empowerment for youths of the Niger Delta. When we talk about empowerment, it is not about giving money. We will not give you fish but we will teach you how to fish.
“The NDDC has been mandated by the federal government to work out the framework with the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, so that youths of communities in the Niger Delta will be empowered through the establishment of modular refineries.”
The NDDC boss however, decried the lack of organised leadership structure for youths in the region and advised them to borrow a leaf from the elders of the region, who now have an organised leadership structure through the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF).
Ekere said: “The major problem that we have had since we came on board, have been how to address and talk to youths of the Niger Delta region. Several generals have been calling me on this and that and it has been difficult to know who government should talk to on issues concerning youths.
“Why can’t we in the Niger Delta agree on a proper youth structure that government can always talk to when matters on youths of the region come up? Even armed robbers have leaders. Why can’t we have an acceptable structure through which we can engage the youths?
“PANDEF has provided the acceptable structure and platform for elders in the Niger Delta region to be organised and we commend them for that. I think the youths should borrow a leaf from the elders. “