NIIA Brainstorms On Niger Delta Development
2 Aug 2006
Author: Ahamefula Ogbu
The Director General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Professor Joy Ogwu has said that the product of their conference of "Center for Advanced Social Sciences" would be used to work out lasting solution to the Niger Delta problem.
She spoke yesterday in Port Harcourt at a conference on "Democracy, Security and Development: Implications for the Oil and Gas Industry in the Niger Delta" where she lamented the low turn out of stakeholders to discuss such an important issue.
She harped on the need for cooperation among all tiers of government each time there was a problem like the restiveness and security situation in the Niger Delta.
"We shall submit the report of this conference for continuous debate and use for practical development. We shall aim to attain better policy development options to improve both development and security in the region", she said.
She expressed gratitude to Governor Peter Odili for assisting the body in organizing the conference, adding that the works of the governor was manifest and impacting positively on the lives of the people.
In his brief remarks, Chairman of the Governing Board of NIIA, Mallam Abba Dabo described oil and Gas as two important money spinners for the nation which the Niger Delta region was playing host to.
To him, the belt stretching from Sokoto to the offshore of the country were laden with the deposits but regretted that except in the Niger Delta region, other regions have not been exploited, leaving the Delta region as sole earner of over 80 percent o the nation's resources.
Dabo described Nigeria as a country endowed above and beneath the ground, pointing out that the diversity of its citizens with different capabilities was the most important attribute.
He regretted that "the unquenchable demand for oil and gas and the drive for profit have led to neglect in the areas of exploitation and exploration, noting that although there has been a lot of interventions both by President Olusegun Obasanjo and Odili, much was still left undone.
He listed creation of jobs for the youths, physical development of host areas and checking restiveness were areas not yet well addressed though he extolled Odili whose intervention he said was a milestone.
"Odili is rated to be a huge political asset not only by politicians but also by the wider society. He is a political discovery. If Nigeria is going to be anywhere in the world, I think it is people like Odili that will take it there", he said.
In his contribution Odili traced his efforts at solving the problems in the Delta and insisted that he was taking steps o ensure that the area had the best it can from the available.