Yar'Adua's absence stalls N'Delta action plan

2010-01-27
THE GUARDIAN Newspaper-Kelechi Okoronkwo


THE two-month absence of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua from the country on health grounds has stalled the development projections of the Niger Delta Affairs Ministry.

Minister of State, Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe, disclosed this yesterday in Abuja during a courtesy call on him by elders of Itsekiri Kingdom, led by Chief Jemide Isaac.

However, Orubebe said the Federal Government was determined to transform the oil-rich but troubled region into tourist attraction and commercial hub modelled after Amsterdam, Holland.

He disclosed that the ministry's current workforce was constituted by drafting in civil servants from other government establishments, saying the President's absence had stalled plans to boost the ministry's personnel strength through a well advertised recruitment process.

He assured that plans were on to recruit more hands for the ministry.

Earlier, the Itsekiri elders complained over lack of government's presence in their areas and urged the minister to ensure that Itsekiri Kingdom was not left out of development plans in the Niger Delta.

Isaac stressed that the ministry should develop programmes that could alleviate the problems of the Niger Delta youths, especially unemployment.

The elders argued that one year was enough for the Itsekiri to have felt the impact of the Niger Delta Affairs Ministry, hence their resolve to dialogue with the government to attract the latter's attention to their communities.

Orubebe assured them that the Federal Government has a good action-plan for the transformation of the Niger Delta, stating that the ministry would partner with any ethnic group that would work with it to achieve its development goals in the region.

He said: "Employment issue is still being discussed. It is being stalled by the President's absence. Junior cadre staff will be employed at the states while the senior staff positions are being discussed at the federal level.

"The ministry has an action plan that is different from the NDDC Master Plan. Ten per cent equity will go to oil-bearing communities; it won't go to states."


 

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