By Dianabasi Effiong
Port Harcourt – A two-day dialogue on Niger Delta affairs has ended in Calabar with a resolution for the implementation of a regional integrated Master Plan and robust engagement of stakeholders for its review, update and re-validation.
In a communique signed by the Chairman, Niger Delta Dialogue, King Diete Spiff, participants noted that the master plan’s implementation targets should include developmental goals of the region in all sectors.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 7th Niger Delta Dialogue with the theme: A Revival Dialogue for the Niger Delta, held at Tinapa Hotel, Calabar.
The communique obtained by NAN on Sunday also stressed the need for the Ministry of the Niger Delta Affairs (MNA) to consistently drive the development of the region.
It also urged the MNA to play a greater leadership and coordinating role on matters pertaining to the finalisation of an integrated master plan for the region.
The communique also stated the need to put together core professionals in the region with the needed competences to implement plans and ensure continuity,
It advised political leaders from the region to work across party lines and individual viewpoints in pursuing matters pertaining to economic future of the Niger Delta.
The communique also emphasised the need for “the BRACED Commission, working together with NDDC’’ to be given “needed support by governors and political leaders of the region to play its coordinating role.’’
It called on Federal Government “to focus on overarching and straddling regional infrastructural and economic diversification plans.’’
Governors from the region were also urged to show greater commitment to transparent management of resources and implementation of programmes and activities for more effective growth and development.
It called on the leadership and people of the region to depart from what it termed culture of entitlement’ to a culture of devotion to development.’’
According to the communique the leadership and people of Niger Delta must foster “the creation of an integrated regional economy’’ according to the NDDC Master Plan.
It called for the need for NDDC to return to its original Master Plan of “dealing with straddling regional programme rather than undertaking micro community level projects.’’
The communique expressed the hope that the work of the present Federal Government’s inter-ministerial committee would adopt an approach “in sync with the 16-point agenda.’’
It urged the Federal Government to note that “the intervention of various stakeholders in the region particularly held by PANDEF led to the unilateral declaration of sixty days ceasefire in the region”.
“This has since increased oil production levels in the country from 800,000 bpd to present value of 2.2million bpd and its implications on revenue increase to the country.’’
It urged the Federal Government “to accelerate its dialogue with PANDEF and commence the immediate implementation of various aspects of the 16-Point Agenda submitted to Mr. President on the 1st of November 2016.’’
The communique stated that such measures would ensure continued peace and security in the region.
Participants included the Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V and King Dandeson Jaja, the Amanayabo of Opobo and Chairman of Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers.
Others in attendance were leading traditional rulers, elder statesmen and leaders of the region as well as Chairman of NDDC, Sen. Victor Ndoma-Egba.
The Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Nigeria, Ambassador Michel Arron and representatives of EU, the UK and the United Nations Development Programme also attended the meeting.