By Obas Esiedesa
Crude oil production has risen steadily in the past one year and has stabilized around two million barrels per day which has in turn led to Nigeriaa��s exit from economic recession. The rise in oil production could be directly attributed to reduced restiveness in the oil rich Niger Delta as a result of several peace moves by the Federal Government.
Mindful of this and also determined to entrench permanent peace in the region, the government through the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs has in the past few weeks initiated close interactions with communities in the region.
One of those dialogues took officials of the ministry to the sleepy village of Ulemon, Eyekoba, close to Benin City, the capital of Edo State where community leaders, women groups, youth groups, civil society organisations and state government representatives engaged with federal government officials.
In his keynote address at the meeting, the MinisterA� ofA� State, NigerA� Delta Affairs, Prof. Claudius DaramolaA�reiteratedA�A�governmenta��s determinationA� to engageA� A�NigerA� DeltaA� stakeholdersA� A� throughA� A�continuousA� dialogues
forA� sustainedA� security, peaceA� andA� developmentA� ofA� the regionA�in particular andA� theA� country in general.
Daramola whoA� wasA� representedA� by
theA� DirectorA� ofA� PressA� inA� theA� Ministry, Mr. MarshallA� Gundu said the dialogue was designedA� toA� enlightenA� theA� populaceA� onA� government
programmes,A� projectsA� andA� policiesA� gearedA� towardA� securingA� and
developingA� theA� Niger DeltaA� regionA� onA� aA� sustainableA� basis.
a�?It alsoA� servesA� asA� aA� feedbackA� mechanismA� forA� theA� ministryA� andA� our
keyA� stakeholdersa�?, he added.
Daramola noted that various Federal Governmenta��s strategies targeted at maintenance of peace and order in the oil rich region tend to achieve more when stakeholders are adequately sensitized about government programmes with the current increase in Nigeriaa��s oil production capacity as a good example.
Nigeriaa��s oil production capacity has grown in the past one year to about 1.8 million barrels per day following relative peace in the Niger Delta region.
The Minister reiteratedA�government determinationA� to engageA� NigerA� DeltaA� stakeholders throughA� continuousA� dialogues forA� sustainedA� security, peaceA� andA� developmentA� ofA� theA� Niger DeltaA� regionA� andA� theA� country.
Prof. Daramola alsoA�addedA�thatA�theA�dialogue strategyA�hasA� the capabilityA� toA� mitigateA� someA� hydra-headedA� agitationsA� thatA� keep re-occurringA� inA� someA� communitiesA� withinA� theA� region.
TheA�ministerA�saidA�thatA�theA�goalA�ofA�government wasA� toA� create aA� conduciveA� atmosphereA� forA� investments, stabilityA� and socio-economicA� well-beingA� ofA� theA� Niger DeltaA� region.
HeA�alsoA� addedA� thatA� theA� dialogueA� strategyA� hasA� the
capabilityA� toA� mitigateA� someA� hydra-headedA� agitationsA� thatA� keep
re-occurringA� inA� someA� communitiesA� withinA� theA� region.
TheA� ministerA� saidA� thatA� theA� goalA� ofA� governmentA� wasA� toA� create
aA� conduciveA� atmosphereA� forA� investments, stabilityA� and
socio-economicA� well-beingA� ofA� theA� Niger DeltaA� region.
TheA� ministerA� enjoinedA� A�allA� stakeholdersA� toA� collaborateA� with
theA� FederalA� A�andA� StateA� GovernmentsA� byA� buildingA� theA� needed
synergyA� andA� partnershipA� toA� promoteA� theA� socio-economic
developmentA� asA� wellA� asA� sustainableA� peace, developmentA� and
stabilityA� ofA� theA� NigerA� DeltaA� region.
SpeakingA� earlierA� atA� theA� event, theA� PermanentA� SecretaryA� inA� the
MinistryA� ofA� NigerA� DeltaA� Affairs, AminuA� AliyuA� BisallaA� whoA� was
representedA� byA� theA� Mrs. LaureenA� Braide, theA� DirectorA� Community
DevelopmentA� and EducationA� DepartmentA� saidA� theA� programmeA� was
organizedA� toA� relateA� withA� theA� oilA� producingA� communitiesA� inA� the
NigerA� DeltaA� regionA� andA� expressedA� hopeA� thatA� thereA� wouldA� be
WhileA� flaggingA� offA� theA� healthA� outreachA� segmentA� atA� the
stakeholdersA� forum, Prof. DaramolaA� saidA� thatA� theA� essenceA� wasA� to
fosterA� behaviouralA� change,A� reduceA� stigmaA� andA� improveA� access
toA� qualityA� careA� andA� supportA� servicesA� forA� personsA� livingA� with
HIV/AIDS; promoteA� integratedA� approachA� toA� theA� controlA� of
communicableA� diseasesA� suchA� asA� LassaA� andA� Monkey PoxA� FeverA� with
aA� viewA� toA� improvingA� lifeA� expectancyA� andA� qualityA� lifeA� forA� our
people inA� theA� region.
FreeA� medicalA� testsA� wereA� carriedA� outA� forA� participants, free
drugsA� andA� treatedA� mosquitoA� netsA� wereA� givenA� outA� to
participantsA� atA� theA� healthA� outreachA� programmeA� duringA� the
stakeholdersA� forumA� byA� DoctorsA� andA� medicalA� personnel.
AtA� theA� healthA� outreachA� segmentA� ofA� theA� programme, Dr. Andrew
FiateideA� encouragedA� theA� peopleA� ofA� theA� NigerA� DeltaA� regionA� to
guideA� againstA� communicableA� diseasesA� byA� keepingA� their
environmentsA� cleanA� andA� washingA� theirA� handsA� regularly.
Dr. FiateideA� alsoA� urgedA� theA� peopleA� toA� coverA� theirA� food
properlyA� toA� keepA� awayA� rodentsA� andA� otherA� virusA� bearingA� insects
thatA� couldA� causeA� diseases.
TheA� DoctorA� alsoA� advisedA� peopleA� ofA� theA� regionA� toA� beA� sleeping
insideA� treatedA� mosquito nets,A� treatA� theirA� waterA� beforeA� drinking
toA� avoidA� malariaA� andA� typhoidA� fever.
InA� hisA� remarks atA� theA� eventA� Uche Ifukor , theA� A�LeadA� Speaker,
saidA� thatA� securityA� A�wasA� everybodya��sA� responsibility.A� HeA� urged
allA� communityA� leadersA� andA� youthsA� toA� workA� togetherA� with
governmentA� toA� ensureA� peaceA� andA� stabilityA� inA� theA� Niger Delta
IfukorA� addedA� thatA� withoutA� peaceA� itA� wouldA� beA� difficultA� for
governmentA� toA� developA� theA� region.
SpeakingA� atA� theA� event,A� theA� AssistantA� CommissionerA� ofA� Police
inA� chargeA� ofA� operationsA� atA� theA� EdoA� StateA� PoliceA� Command, Mr.
AyoA� FamiyanA� A�advisedA� communitiesA� toA� alwaysA� reportA� casesA� of
crimesA� toA� theA� NigeriaA� Police Force.
Mr.A� Famiyan addedA� thatA� ifA� theA� communitiesA� wereA� notA� satisfied
withA� the actionsA� ofA� theA� policeA� atA� anyA� jurisdictionA� inA� the
stateA� theyA� shouldA� reportA� theA� caseA� atA� theA� nextA� higherA� level
forA� necessaryA� action.
HeA� assuredA� theA� stakeholdersA� thatA� theA� EdoA� StateA� Commissioner
ofA� PoliceA� wasA� accessibleA� andA� wouldA� quicklyA� respondA� to
complaintsA� byA� communityA� leaders.
AtA� theA� event, Mrs. VictoriaA� Potoki,A� oneA� ofA� theA� womenA� group
leadersA� stressedA� theA� needA� forA� theA� FederalA� GovernmentA� to
follow-upA� onA� theA� promisesA� madeA� duringA� theA� visitA� ofA� Vice
PresidentA� YemiA� OsibanjoA� toA� EdoA� StateA� lastA� year.
Mrs. PotokiA� alsoA� addedA� thatA� Niger DeltanA� womenA� wereA� having
difficultiesA� inA� farmingA� andA� fishingA� dueA� toA� oilA� spills.TheA� hostA� communityA� leader, Mr. AyeniA� VictorA� commendedA� theeffortsA� ofA� theA� MinistryA� ofA� NigerA� DeltaA� AffairsA� forA� organizingtoheA� eventA� andA� hopedA� thatA� itA� wouldA� bringA� A�theA� neededA� changeandA� developmentA� toA� theA� communityA� andA� theA� NigerA� DeltaA� region.
TheA� consultativeA� stakeholdersA� forumA� wasA� attendedA� by
participantsA� fromA� theA� FederalA� andA� EdoA� State Government
Agencies,A� traditionalA� rulers,A� communityA� leadersA� andA� their
membersA� andA� Non-GovernmentalA� agencies.