By Stanley Onyekwere
The federal government has been urged to increase budgetary allocation and timely released of fund to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and other MDAs in the region in to hasten development in the Niger Delta region.
This call was made by Niger Delta youths across Nigeria under the auspices of Niger Delta National Youth Leaders and Development Stakeholders Forum ((NDNYLDSF).
The youth, who converged in Abuja to discuss the challenges faced by the region, said the call has become necessary following the fact that stakeholders have always been informed of paucity of funds or budgetary constraints since the past six years whenever request is made for support and assistance for development projects, programmes and activities in the region.
The convener of the Niger Delta youth, Amb Felix Ihiore, who made this call on behalf of the youth in a world press conference after a two day emergency meeting, said the timely release of the ministry budget fund will complement the urgent need to complete all on- going and abandoned projects in the region particularly the East-West Route, youth development centres, housing estates, roads.
Ihiore added that other infrastructure should be taken as an issue of emergency in other to ameliorate the suffering of the people, advising the ministry to channel its energy on combating unemployed and jobless youths in the region.
According him, this strategy will keep the youths away from restiveness such a vandalism, kidnapping, conflicts and violence of all kinds.
“We further call on all stakeholders in the region to always give a probationer period to any Minister and other heads of MDAs sometime in the office once they are appointed before going to meet and trouble them with needs and even protest, so that they can have enough time to plan and execute projects that are beneficial to our people.
“We are in total support of a forensic auditing of NDDC which is in the pipeline, but this should not obstruct the budget cycle, project and development activities in the region. Our 27 Senators, House of Reps Members, State House of Assemblies should make laws beneficial to the people of the region.
“Our people needs serious legislation to ameliorate the suffering and neglects of our teaming population in the rural areas due to natural and man made disasters because their sources of livelihood is tempered with by such disasters. We also lack access roads to their farms, communities, local government areas and even states.
“It is sad to note that our people are presently Facing high level of flood disaster, water pollutions, inaccessible roads, water ways as a result of poor drainage system, dredging of rivers and attack from water hyacinth other dirts on our water ways,” he said.