President Muhammadu Buhari has approved that action be taken on the Technical Audit Report on all projects awarded between 2009 to 2015 by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs. This is to ensure that there is value for the over N450 billion so far released for projects in the nine oil producing states.
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Usani Uguru Usani, who stated this in Abuja at a news conference to review the activities of his ministry in the past two years, said the audit report not only provided first-hand information on the over 400 projects but convinced the President to approve the supervision of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by the Ministry to avoid duplication of duties.
Usani who did not give details of the actions the government would take against contractors who collected various sums of money but failed to deliver, said it was regrettable that the percentage of job done on the projects stand at only 12 per cent.
He said: “The Ministry may not have got it right at inception in terms of pursuing the agenda of government of transforming the region, we are nonetheless committed to changing the narratives by addressing the core needs of the people.
He explained that between 2016 and 2017 about 214 women and youths from the nine states of the Niger/Delta were trained in Ibadan, Oyo state in fisheries, poultry and Information Communication Technology and empowered with sums ranging from 300,000-500,000 naira (107 million naira) as start-up capital for business.
The Minister said 130 youths were earlier trained in Isreal in poultry, aquaculture and crop production and were given one million naira each to begin a life of productivity, stating that the funds were disbursed through the Bank of Agriculture and the Nigerian Agriculture Insurance Corporation.
The minister said one million non-militant youths and women have been trained in various fields of human endeavours, while seven cassava processing plants were being established in the region to make life easy for the citizens.
He said the ministry had facilitated the required 30 per cent counterpart funding to access European Union (EU) 2.4billion naira grant for a water project in five Niger/Delta states of Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Rivers and Akwa Ibom under the Niger/Delta Support Programme.
Usani added that the ministry is constructing housing estates in the nine states of the region, while work was at advanced stage in the skill acquisition centres being constructed by the Ministry in the affected states. He added that the Skill Centre in Otuoke had been completed and handed over to the Federal University, Otuoke to manage.