By Victor Akaa
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’.
According to the statement issued by the deputy director of press in the ministry, Stephen Kilebi,says 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.
According to the statement, the Permanent Secretary was represented by Architect Oyelade Oyeleke David, the Delta State Coordinator of the Ministry ,who 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.
Sen. 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.