Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), has stressed the need to transform oil bearing communities in the Niger Delta into hubs for refining petrochemicals and related activities.
He made the suggestion this during his visit to the Bayelsa State as part of his consultative and confidence building tour of the Niger Delta states as mandated by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to him, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources in collaboration with the oil companies are working on a 40-point agenda and other initiatives for the oil producing communities.
Osinbajo challenged youths of the region to set up a Niger Delta Chamber of Commerce and Entreprenuer Council to attract local and foreign partnerships.
He said part of the agenda was to build modular refineries and acknowledged the need to make Bayelsa a hub for power generation as it is a nutural location of gas deposits.
In his remarks, Governor Seriake Dickson called for synergy between the state and federal governments on the development of critical infrastructure. such as the three senatorial roads, airport and other projects for rapid development to take place.
Governor Dickson, who aligned his administration’s position with the 16 point agenda of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), reaffirmed his earlier call on the federal government and stakeholders of the region to embrace dialogue rather than confrontation in resolving issues.
Commending Prof Osinbajo for facilitating the meeting between the oil multinationals and the state government, the Governor urged the federal government to prevail on the oil companies to comply with the tax laws of the state.
In their separate presentations, the PANDEF and the Ijaw National Congress, urged the federal government to urgently address the evident socio-economic imbalances and inadequacies for the attainment of sustainable peace and development.
President of the Ijaw Youth Council, Comrade Udengs Eradiri highlighted some projects that could create massive job opportunities in the state to include, Brass Fertilizer, Brass LNG, Agge deep sea port, Pipe Mill and power projects in Gbarain and urged the federal government to make them come on stream.
Speaking through its representative, King Frank Okoroakpor, the Traditional Rulers of Oil and Mineral Producing Communities of Nigeria, TROMPCON called for the speedy passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill.
Others who made presentations at the town hall meeting include, Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, Petroleum Resources Minister, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru Usani, Environmental Rights Action group, Host Communities of oil and gas, HOSTCOM.
Dignitaries, who attended the event include members of te National Assembly from the State, former Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva, former NDDC Managing Director, Chief Timi Alaibe, Alaowei Brodericks Bozimo, who represented Chief Edwin Clark, former Military Governor of old Bendel State, Gen. John Yeri and an elder ststesman, Prof. Ebiegberi Alagoa.