The Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has disclosed that so far, the Federal Government have spent over $40 billion in 12 years in the Niger Delta region through various intervention agencies, but that there was nothing on ground to justify the huge investment.
Speaking at a meeting held at PTI Conference Centre in Warri, Delta state, on Friday, after meeting with Edwin Clark and other Niger Delta leaders from Cross River, Rivers, Edo and Akwa Ibom states, Kachikwu said the $40 billion came mainly from oil companies, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, 13% derivation and other intervention funds.
He urged the region to shun militancy and embrace peace in order to accommodate development. Stating that the state of infrastructure is disappointing despite the huge effort to alleviate the infrastructural defect in the region.
He also called for an audit of money expended in the region so far to know what exactly went wrong to avoid repeating the same mistakes.
“I think we need an audit because it will not be wise to have agitation of this kind in circle after each agitation will come back again to demand for the same thing when intervention funds had made no impact on the lives of the ordinary people.”
The minister also used the forum to assure leaders of the zone that President Muhammadu Buhari was not thinking of using the military to resolve the crisis in the region. He maintained that the President was desirous of using dialogue to find a lasting solution to the problem.
He further urged the leaders to prevail on their youths to allow peace to reign in the region noting that no meaningful development can take place in an atmosphere of violence.
He assured leaders that the Federal Government was committed to the development of the region promising to come out soon with short and long term plans in that direction.