Mar 18, 2011, 1:38 PM
The recent approval of 200 billion Naira in federal funding to develop oil rich Niger by the Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua is good news and indeed a positive development.
The funding is the latest effort by the President to develop the impoverished region and halt years of unrest that has kept Africa's biggest energy industry from pumping above two thirds of its installed capacity.
According to reports monitored by this paper, the money will be used to build roads, hospitals and schools in the oil-producing Niger Delta.
This is a positive development and we commend the Nigerian President, Alhagie Umaru Yar'Adua for the bold initiative. With this it's a clear indication of his commitment in resolving the troubled region's many problems.
We firmly belief that if this huge development package had been implemented by the previous administrations the problems would be over by now.
"The projects range from the construction of bridges, roads, hospitals and schools. These projects will definitely accelerate the pace of development in the region," said Minister of Information Dora Akunyili.
Decades of neglect and frustration in the Niger Delta sparked a rise in militancy and criminal activity.
But violence has subsided over the past few months after thousands of gunmen accepted Yar'Adua's offer of amnesty.
With this initiative it's becoming increasingly clear that the Nigerian leader is definitely committed to the development of Nigeria.
Yar'Adua wants to also provide 10 percent of the OPEC member's oil joint ventures to Niger Delta states, potentially providing hundred of millions of dollars each year to its residents.
This is a brilliant move and we encourage the Nigerian authorities to speed up the implementation of these projects.
We also urge our brothers in the Niger Delta to give them time to implement the proposed projects.