Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, has disclosed that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will spend N90b for the nine states of the region in its integrated agricultural programme to train youths in fish, rabbit and pig farming.
Akpabio stated this when the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Jerome Pasquier, visited him in Abuja at the weekend, saying the Federal Government conceived the initiative to end agitations in the Niger Delta and to ensure better development of the region.
He added that the initiative would also address infrastructural deficit, youth restiveness and socio-economic challenges in the region.
He further stated that the ministry was seeking to engage consultants to merge the regional and national plans to produce a concise master plan that would address all challenges in the Niger Delta.
Akpabio also stressed the need to engage soil remediation experts to help restore the soil to its natural pollution-free state, which would enhance soil usefulness and prevent endemic poverty in the zone.
He stressed that the Federal Government was ready to collaborate with the French Government in the production of virology centres to address infectious diseases in the Niger Delta region.
The minister assured the ambassador that the ministry would be prudent and transparent with any financial support the French Government would offer.
Pasquier, who commended the government for putting in place measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, encouraged the Federal Government to develop vaccines that would curb infectious diseases and other ailments such as Coronavirus and malaria.
He indicated the French Government’s readiness to co-operate with Nigeria in the production of vaccine, stressing that Nigeria should collaborate with other African countries to make the COVID 19 vaccine production a reality.
MEANWHILE, Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has said underdevelopment, unemployment and insecurity were the major challenges in the Niger Delta and canvassed greater collaboration among leaders of the region to address the challenges.
He made the assertion in his message to participants of a three-day retreat for cabinet members of the Bayelsa State Government in Uyo at the weekend.
Speaking, Governor Duoye Diri commended Udom for the warm reception and hospitality accorded his cabinet members at the retreat.
Diri expressed the hope that the cordial relationship between the two states would continue to engender greater ties that would proffer solutions to the challenges facing the states and the entire region.