BY JIMITOTA ONOYUME
PORT HARCOURT – THE Federal government has again been urged to take practical steps towards addressing challenges of underdevelopment and poverty in the Niger delta as failure to do so could further deepen conflicts and crisis situations being witnessed in the region.
Lamenting the high rate of poverty among people of the area a clergy man, Jones Erue who spoke in Port Harcourt blamed the deplorable state of the region on lack of political will to do what is right.
Erue who is also the president Global Peace and Relief Initiative, a non governmental peace and relief organization also called for creation of massive job opportunities in the region to productively engage the youths.
He said this size of job opportunities could better be created with the development of a functional agro industrial complex. According to him, agro industrial complex was a major employer of labor
Adding that the government should properly fund interventionist agencies like the Niger Delta Development CommissionÂ and the newly established Niger Delta Ministry Erue also appealed to multinational oil firms and other related companies in the region to set up an industrial development fund to assist those in oil bearing communities in small scale ventures.
â€œThe oil and gas companies should establish industrial development funds, where oil and gas bearing communities can partner with them to establish SMES, using locally sourced raw materials which include. palm oil, cassava, sharp sand timber
Conceive and develop a functional agro-industrial complex. A well developed agro-industrial complex will be the greatest employer of labor â€œ