Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, on Monday, joined other key stakeholders to demand better federal government’s presence to fast track overall development of the state.
The stakeholders made the call during a Special Town Hall Meeting organised by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources in conjunction with the state government at the Chief Harold Dappa Biriye Conference Centre in Yenagoa.
They called on the federal government to revisit the abandoned federal secretariat and housing projects among other federal infrastructure lacking in the state.
In their presentation, chairman of the Central Zone, Ijaw Youth Council, Clever Inodu, and the council’s spokesman, Ebilade Ekerefe, stressed that constructive engagement of the youths was vital to sustaining the peace and security in the Niger Delta.
They said they were still awaiting fulfilment of the federal government’s directive to the oil multinationals to relocation their operational headquarters to the Niger Delta.
Also, pioneer chairman of the state’s Traditional Rulers Council, King Joshua Igbugburu, elder statesman, Chief Thompson Okorotie, representative of the Civil Liberties Organisation, Chief Nengi James, expressed concern over the number of abandoned federal projects in the state.
In his response, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, underscored the need for all to work to make Bayelsa a peaceful and investment-friendly destination.
He highlighted some ongoing federal projects to create job opportunities for youths in the state.
He said the Brass fertilizer plant, the Oil and Gas Industrial Park project at Ogbia, the Oloibiri Museum and the petrochemical plant in Polaku were targeted intervention projects.
The Minister, who also assured that action would be taken on the Nembe-Brass road, promised that all ongoing projects would be completed.
In his remarks, Senator Diri while commending President Muhammadu Buhari for completing the 17-storey secretariat of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in Yenagoa, tasked the federal government to prevail on the international oil companies to relocate their head offices to Bayelsa and other states in the region.
According to him, “the relocation of such offices will further cement peace and attract investments to the region as there is no total peace anywhere in the country as shown by the EndSARS disturbances.”
The governor called for the approval of the license for the Bayelsa airport as well as the construction of the Nembe-Brass road, which he described as strategic to the operations of the Brass fertilizer plant project.
He harped on the need for collaboration between the state and federal governments to collectively pursue development efforts rather than politicising issues of development.
“Let us move away from politics of deceit, bitterness, hatred and lawlessness. We should be mindful of what we are handing over to our next generation.
“Let us put aside our political differences and come together to work for the collective interests of our people.”
The governor equally commended the federal government for initiating such a meeting and emphasised the need to interface more with the people in order to avoid speculations and protests.
He urged President Buhari to appoint a substantive minister for the Ministry of Petroleum Resources or elevate the serving Minister of State, adding that the people would continue to agitate for a better deal from the centre but through legitimate means.
“Let us have this paradigm shift from bitterness to development. Going forward this should be a model and not wait for a directive from Abuja before we meet to dispel rumours.”
Also, Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Engr Simbi Wabote, said the board was playing a significant role in creating investment opportunities that provide employment for the people.