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NIGER DELTA TECHNICAL REPORT: Roadmap to peace (2)

Medium Term 2009-2013•Providing appropriate support to the efforts of the Federal Government to establish and carry through a credible DDR process which embodies resocialisation, capacity building and skills acquisition for ex-militants in the Niger Delta.

•Reviewing patterns of donor assistance so that greater attention and support is given to communities and local peoples’ efforts at self-governance.

•Providing support to efforts of local NGO’s through empowering them technologically and financially as well as building their capacity to provide effectively social services to riverine and coastal areas.

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•Forming a broad-based alliance with states in the Region through a multi-donor funded forum involving international development agencies, partner nations, Interpol, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, the United Nations, UN, Publish What You Pay Campaign, Extractive Industries Transparency International (EITI), and other global finance organisations to recover stolen wealth and return same to the people of the region.

Regional Development

The crisis in the Niger Delta is also linked to the absence of fiscal and physical development. Although the Federal Government has created some interventionist agencies to respond to the infrastructural needs of the region, a lot more, in terms of basic infrastructure, economic policies and programmes, and environmental management frameworks which sustain economic and social development in the Region need to take place.

A more focused effort by government at various levels to drastically improve transportation, and empowering resource management and distribution framework, institutionalise a quick and timely reclamation and remediation strategy for managing environmental risks and hazards, and design economic policies that ensure wealth creation and economic opportunities for the people of the Region will have positive spill-over efforts for the rest of Nigeria.
Consequently, this section of the Report will address the issues of:

1.    Transportation

2.    Water and power

3.    Environmental             sustainability

4.    Economic development

5.    Resource management         and redistribution

Transportation

Apart from the obvious benefits of a good transport network (good roads, safe water transport, rail lines and water ways) to the economic and social development of the region, the importance of transportation to security was highlighted by memoranda received from the State Security Service (SSS), and other security groups. Given the magnitude of the need, this section only highlights a few pressing infrastructural projects, particularly those that have a trans-Niger Delta character or have been on the drawing board for almost three decades. To make up for this shortfall infrastructure recommendations, other important projects are captured in Appendices of this report, and are as important and integral to the attainment of Region’s development as those listed below:

Short-term 2008-2010

Federal government should:
•Facilitate the provision of necessary navigational aids and runway maintenance to restore the international gateway status to the Port Harcourt International Airport.

•Fast track the completion of the East-West Road dualisation from Calabar to Lagos with link roads
•Rehabilitate and upgrade the Aba-Ikot-Ekpene-Uyo-Itu-Calabar-Ogoja-Makurdi road

•Construct the Yenegoa-Kolo Brass road with a spur to Okoroba which has been on the drawing board since 1941
•Complete the Bodo-Bonny road with its spur to the East-West road
• Fast-track the reconstruction and/or rehabilitation of Port-Harcourt-Aba-Owerri-Road

•Take immediate action to rehabilitate the Niger Bridge at Onitsha
•Reconstruct Emuoha-Abua-Koko road which shortens the distance between Port Harcourt and the area.

Medium Term 2009-2013

•Commence work on the East West rail line from Calabar-Uyo-Oron-Eket-Aba-Port Harcourt-Yenegoa-Warri-Benin City-Igbokoda-Ore-Shagamu to Lagos to link strategic oil cities and towns in the region
•Develop coastal waterway transportation through canalisation, de-silting and provision of modern river crafts to link up coastal communities in Niger Delta with other communities in and outside the region

•Construct the second Niger Delta as proposed by the Federal Ministry of Works and the Nigerian Society of Engineers
•Construct a coastal road from Calabar to Benin to Igbokoda to Ore to Lagos as recommended by the Ogomudia report
•Partner with each state government to establish  new cities  in the nine states of the Niger Delta. These new cities are to become growth centres and will be financed by a special protocol between the states and the Federal Government

•Partner with Niger Delta states to establish integrated industrial corridor in Port Harcourt, Aba and Warri to spur industrialisation

Long Term 2013-2020

•Construct Omadini-Okerenko-Escravos Road
•Fund and complete at least four major spur roads to the coast before end of 2015 from the East-West Road cutting across the creeks on th coatline.

•Extend telecommunication and ICT access to all major cities and towns in the region and create additional linkages for security purposes in the coastal areas

Short Term 2008-2010

N/D state governments should:
Work with the FG and local governments to ensure the rehabilitation, repair, completion, and maintenance of roads in states and specially undertake the following underlisted infrastructural projects:
i. Aba State: Construct pilot waste recycling/management plant

ii. Akwa Ibom State: Design and construct a road linking Tinapa to Uyo and also linking Cross River State and Akwa Ibom
iii. Bayelsa State: Construct East-West/Sampon/Agbere/Asimabari/Elemabiri/(Biseni) Ndoni with bridges linking Bayelsa and Rivers

iv. Cross River State: Construct Adiabgo-Uwot-Ndom-Mwong-Atan Isong Inyang Itu-Eki-Atan-Onoyam-Arochukwu road linking CRS to Abuja and Akwa Ibom State
v. Delta State: Construction of Asaba-Ikpat Okpai-Aboh-Umuolu-Patani-East/West road

vi. Edo State: Construct Igarra-Idoa-Ukhun-Illeh-Irrua-Uromi road.
vii. Imo State: Construct Oguta Lake Bridge through Nnebuku and Egbuoma
viii. Ondo State: Construct Ugbo-Akpata-Oghoye road

ix. Rivers State: Construct East/West-Nyokuru-Luekun-Lorre-Luebe road, spur to Obetta

Medium Term 2009-2013
•Construct at least 100km of asphalted road every year to open up communities to the federal link roads in their respective states, ensuring however, that such roads take the ethnic configuration of the state into account

Short Term 2008-2010
Local government should:
•Construct and maintain feeder roads and undertake the construction of at least 10km of asphalted/concrete road every year in each LGA

Water and Power

The committee notes that power is an important part of the 7-Point agenda of President Yar’ Adua’s administration and believes that any meaningful intervention in the region must include some bold actions to tackle acute lack of access to power and potable water in the region. We therefore recommend interventions by Federal, State and Local Governments, in partnership with oil ad gas companies in the  region, on a scale that will compensate for the years of neglect of the region and encourage better relationship between communities on the one hand, and oil/gas companies and governments on the other.

Short Term 2008-2010

The Federal Government should:

•Ensure that the National Gas Master Plan incorporates comprehensive gas sources in the Niger Delta which will supply both domestic and industrial gas to the region and the country as a whole

•Tackle jointly with states and special agencies the menace of problems caused to waterside by the blockages of creeks and sea weeds, NIPA palms and other invasive plants

Medium Term

•Utilise hydro, gas, solar or wind energy sources to provide more power and ensure that all states governments, private investors and selected communities are involved in exploring these sources of energy.

Short Term 2008-2010
N/D state government should:
•Build, equip and maintain integrated water system based on a centralised water scheme in every local government areas across the region

•Construct Low-Tension (LT) power distribution lines to link all towns with the potential to become growth centres and region using only materials fit for the Niger Delta environment
•Establish potable water schemes in at least 10 communities every year

Medium Term

•Provide pipe-borne water supply across all the urban areas, cities ad towns in the Region by 2012
•Establish Renewable Energy Technology (RET) demonstrate projects and learning centres in each LGA
•Declare at least 2 villages in each LGA of the 9 states of the region as ecological villages for applying RET

•Ensure that by 2010 not less than 25% of all projects addressing rural electrification are based on RET
• Provide by the end of 2013 every communities in each states, accessible water sources and connectivity to the national grid for electricity

Economic Development
Rebuilding the Niger Delta into a prosperous region requires that we grow the economy of the Region and create jobs that pay good wages. It is also important to move away frm oil dependency and the conflicts its spurns, towards a development propelling infrastructure with poverty reducing economy that builds on responsive economic policies and programmes.

To diversify the region’s economy, there is need for it to regain her pride of place as a major producer of agriculture produce without ignoring the multiple industrial potentials associated with petrochemicals and gas. Also there is the need to get private sector investments back into the region and stimulate the growth in the service sector. Clearly, the region can act a the major catalyst for economic growth and promote the country’s aspiration to become one of the 20 largest economies by 2020.

Short Term 2008-2010
•Review and improve in the light of th establishment of the Niger Delta Ministry, the challenges of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), its duty of regulating the working of the oil and gas sector and practices of multinational industries

•Direct all oil/gas companies, including NNPC and any component(s) derived from its restructuring to relocate their headquarters to states in the region where they have their major operations. This is a means to stimulate development of the petrochemical industry, create employment opportunities and allow the region to benefit from the multiple effects of oil and gas industry operations.

•Give value to the Nigerian local content policy of 2005 by providing direction on how the people from the Niger Delta will actively participate in the gas and oil sector

•Support aquatic businesses by intensifying navigation of the territorial waters to prevent flagrant violation of Nigerian waters by foreign fishing trawlers
•Review the National Economic Empowering Development Strategy (NEEDS) and State Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (SEEDS), policies to address the economic challenges and potentials of the region and make them pivotal to the achievement of the Yar’ Adua 7-point agenda on th Niger Delta

•Increase and multiply funding sources available by exploring the following potentials services
•Recovery and repatriation of all stolen wealth to the region
•Allocation from the country’s foreign exchange reserve

•Hosting of meeting to bring together different bilateral, multilateral, public and private, corporate and individual/external donors to invest in the development of the region
•Exploit special financial instruments to mobilise medium and long term funds

Short Term 2008-2010
N/D State governments should:
•Issue bonds to mobilise medium and long term funds for the rehabilitation and development of Niger Delta region in collaboration with private sector partners

•Set up participatory mechanism to monitor the performance of existing intra state-based development commissions and reduce the influence of politics and rent seeking in their operations
•Establish in all states of the region one pilot project that is geared towards stimulating a sustainable local industry.

•Encourag private investors with investments incentives to be fully involved in the various tourism agendas of the region.

•Set up economically viable and environmentally responsive reclamation projects that crates jobs, provide expertise and ensure environmentally responsive business standards.

Medium Term
•Expand the scope of fisheries and aquatic-based businesses as complimentary to oil and gas exploitation

Short Term 2008-2010
•Support and promote the establishment at least one cottage industry for processing, packaging and storage of sea foods in each riverine local government area across the region
•Workout schemes to support the provision of implements to small-scale farmers and fishers-persons in riverine and coastal communities as a means of addressing unemployment and reducing poverty

•Stimulate micro and small enterprises development schemes and address the needs of women engaged in small holding agro-related business

•Encourage local government councils and communities should also be encouraged to highlight tourist attractions in their local areas and work to develop them.

Reclamation, Environment and Sustainable Development
The sustainable utilisation of the resources of the Niger Delta holds them key to the successful re-integration of the region into a productive national economy. For this sustainable development to take place, the various environmental failing of the past 50 years must be successfully addressed and this involves the strategic and urgent restoration, rehabilitation and remediation of the environment.

It its recommendations, the committee is tasking the various levels of government to see the preservation and sustainability of the environments as a major part of the development agenda for the region. This calls for a comprehensive, review of laws, accountable and labour induced policies that out to create employment opportunities for the communities and make economically viable.

Short Term 2008-2010
•Ensure that the directive on stoppage of gas flaring by December 31 2008 is carried out
•Reclaim coastal communities affected by erosion and build shore protections of such affected communities particularly in Bayelsa, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Ondo and Rivers States

•Remedy gully erosion sites in affected states in the Niger Delta especially in Imo, Abia and Cross Rivers states
•Carry out through dredging of water ways in the Niger Delta, flood-free land for industrial, commercial, agriculture and human settlement while at the same time deepening the rivers for safe navigation.

•Ensure that Environmental Impact Assessment, EIA, for new projects is carried out in lie with relevant local and international standards/laws and with full participation of persons from the host communities
•The Federal Government should enforce the Polluters-Pays-Principle by ensuring that oil and gas companies embark on comprehensive environmental cleanup of polluted sites

Medium Term 2009-2013
•Fund researches by tertiary institutions in the Niger Delta on the impact of oil pollution on environment health, fishes and exploitation of artisanal fisheries resources operating within onshore waters.

•Integrate into the environment regime for the region, strong strategies that respond to the environmental challenge of climate change with its impact on coastal areas
•Conducts a comprehensive environmental audit of the Niger Delta using an independent working group that includes representation from respected international bodies and the affected communities

•Enforce the “polluted-pays-principle” to make oil companies embark on comprehensive audit and clean up of all oil spill sites in accordance with international best practices

•Make all oil companies to produce insurance bond with which will be held in trust against the remediation of areas where oil exploitation would take place and this shall not be less than 0.5% of the estimated reserve of the oil field

•Direct oil operators to pay royalties into a Community Trust Fund which will be used to support various forms of environmental preservation and protection as well as development of oil bearing communities

Short Term 2008-2010
•Establishment and fund in every local government area, emergency management agencies which shall be saddled with the responsibility of addressing all emergency issues and environmental degradation within the states.

•Undertake a comprehensive Sustainable Livelihood Assessment (SLA) exercise in all Niger Delta communities which will be used to design a 3-year community development plan on sustainable community development.

•Explore, investigate and pilot environmentally acceptable and regulated models of modular refinery and work DPR to ensure that such refineries receive and are guaranteed seed-stock of crude of up strait.

•Provide training and resources for remedial measures that will protect bio-diversity hot spots in the region.

Medium Term 2009-2013
•Develop pilot projects using community approaches that exploit the opportunities for the development of agriculture, forestry, and fishing in ways that prevent the careless damage of the environment and preserve it from over-exploitation

•Establish in all states of the region, one pilot project that is geared towards stimulating sustainable eco-tourism within a public-private-partnership framework

Short Term 2008-2010
•Set up conjunction with international development agencies, a mechanism for assessing the progress made in remediation of adversely affected local communities using a community environmental master plan which each LGA in the region has to produce

Medium Term 2009-2013
•Engage in remedial environmental projects which are labour intensive and involve not less than 1,000 community persons (who should be mostly women and youths) annually from each state of the region.

Resources Management and Distribution
With the stupendous wealth that oil and gas has brought to the country, the level of revenue allocation to the region that produces the natural wealth continues to be vexed issue. The present reality of the region calls for a significant increase in the resources available for development and restoration of the damaged environment.

The committee notes that there is unanimity form previous reports and an equally strong consensus from the Memoranda received, that increased allocation of funds to the region is required to bring needed development and stem the pervasive feelings of neglect that has fed the crisis in the region.

The committee has no reason to deviate from the previous recommendations for 50% derivation (as proposed by Ogomudia report), we have mad our recommendation taking into account the current downwards trend of oil prices and the need to balance these realities with the interests of the rest of the country. Consequently, it recommends an initial amount of 25% that can be further developed as the price improves.

CONTINUES ON MONDAY…


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