By Laide Akinboade
ABUJAâ€”Minister of Niger Delta, Chief Ufot Ekaette, has appealed to the militants in the Niger Delta to allow the contractors that have been awarded contracts to work.
Chief Ekaette, who stated this at the weekend at the launching of Re-branding campaign in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State, noted that security threats to such contractors have either slowed down or made projects to be abandoned.
According to Ekaette, â€œIncessant security threats have slowed down the progress of projects in the Niger Delta, while many investors are scared of coming to invest in the area. We are all witnesses to the level of damage done to the oil industry by militants under the guise of Niger Delta struggle.
Stringent attacks on oil facilities, oil theft, kidnapping and molestation of oil workers by militants have led to the reduction of Nigeriaâ€™s oil production by over one million barrels of crude oil daily, causing the nation a serious economic loss.â€
He noted that “Incessant security threats have also slowed down the progress of projects in the Niger Delta, while many investors are scared of coming to invest in the area.”
For instance, following the abandonment of work on a potion of the East-West Road by one of the contractors, the ministry re-awarded the contract to another contractor April this year but mounting security threats have slowed down the pace of work.â€™
He therefore urged militants who are yet to embrace the ongoing amnesty to do so in the spirit of development of their society.
â€œWe want to advice militants who are yet to sign up for the amnesty not to wait till the last minute, but to avail themselves of the window of opportunity so as to be re-integrated into normal life.
On the housing scheme that is meant to alleviate the shortage of houses in the area, the Minister said that only one state has donated land for the housing scheme and he therefore called on the remaining states that are yet to donate the land to do so.
According to him the scheme which comprises of over 360 units of two and three bedroom houses in the nine states in the first phase of the housing scheme.
He noted that the Federal Government is doing everything possible to restore the eco-system in the area and ensure the productive use of the land by people in that area.
â€œThe Ministry is equally concerned about the level of environmental degradation in the region. To this end, it has begun an inventory of oil-impacted sites and erosion-prone areas in the nine states with a view to adopting appropriate technology to remedy the situation.â€ He said