**** PANDEF WANTS TAKE OFF OF MARITIME UNIVERSITY
*** VISIT WILL BUILD CONFIDENCE— GBARAMATU KINGDOM
*** NIGER DELTA NEEDS URGENT DEVELOPMENT, SAYS OSINBAJO
NIGERIAN Vice-president Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has told the people of Gbaramatu kingdom and Niger Delta to prepare for the future, saying that the future is now, that Niger Delta needs urgent development.
Prof. Osinbajo stated this during his official find-finding visit to Oporoza, Gbaramatu kingdom in Warri South West local government area of Delta State.
The Vice-president who noted that the Oil rich region which had over the decades being an area of poor infrastructure, poor health living of the people with few hope of redemption, needs urgent attention for development.
He asserted that from between January to June 2016, there was about 1,447 incidents of vandalism adding that illiteracy is poor in the area and thousands of people face challenges as a result of environmental pollution. He added that many of the projects in the Niger Delta has not been able to meet the needs of the people.
Prof. Osinbajo told the people that their future is not in environmental degradation, poor health living, oil facilities vandalism but that the future lies in the development of the Niger Delta.
He urges the people to recognize the unique nature of the Niger Delta and partner with the federal government in order to embrace it as a special developmental zone.
The Vice-president noted that the State and Federal government as well as the National Assembly and all stakeholders must set a plan for the development of the Niger Delta. Adding that collectively all organs must plan for the development of the Zone for the benefit of the people.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State while addressing the people, appeal for the cooperation and partnership with the federal government.
Gov. Okowa who expressed joy and conviction that the visit will bring partnership between the Niger Delta and the federal government urge the people to provide the enabling environment for development to take place.
According to him; “There is no better time in the quest for peace than now. So, we must embrace peace, we must seek peace, I must thank the youths who have spoken, we must all come together and move the region forward. The time is now”. Okowa stated.
Meanwhile, the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), has urged the Federal Government to open the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State to win peace in the Niger Delta Region.
The Forum also implored President Muhammadu Buhari to expeditiously name the Government Negotiating Team to engage PANDEF’s Representatives to kick start the dialogue process for the resolution of the lingering Niger Delta Question.
In address presented by Alaowei Broadrick Bozimo on behalf PANDEF, the Forum held that one of the festering issue was that of the takeoff of the Nigerian Maritime University Okerenkoko, saying approval for the University was given by the Federal Executive Council in 2015 with Principal officers duly appointed with a temporary campus secured at Kurutie not far away from Okerenkoko.
The University, according to the Forum is owned by the Federal Government, adding that it is the only one of its kind in the Country and that there was no justification whatsoever in delaying it’s opening.
“We are hopeful that with your visit today, the takeoff of the University will be finally resolved. That will be one important step towards peace and serenity”, the Forum said.
“May we also draw your attention to the other strategic projects that are pivotal to winning the peace we dearly crave for are, expediting work on the Export Processing Zones, dredging of the Escravos Bar to permit navigation of ocean-going vessels to the Warri, Koko and Sapele; the completion of the East- West Federal highway and completion of the Itakpe- Aladja railway”.
The Forum also drew the attention of the Federal Government to the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Law and Justice.