Ibe Kachikwu, minister of state for petroleum, has bemoaned the absence of infrastructure in the Niger Delta even though the federal government has committed more than $40 billion to the region over the last 12 years.
Speaking in Warri, Delta state, on Friday after meeting with Edwin Clark and other Niger Delta leaders from Cross River, Rivers, Edo and Akwa Ibom states, Kachikwu urged the region to shun militancy and embrace peace in order to accommodate development.
“I have said it from day one that we must work for the final solution,” he said.
“The Niger Delta needs more than ceasefire; what is needed is perpetual peace. Over $40 billion has been put into the Niger Delta in the last 12 years , but when I went through the creeks at the risk of my life, I saw that there is no infrastructure to justify that amount.”
“My belief is that the final solution does not lie in militancy. It requires a well-articulated position of how to find solutions.
“First, there is a short-term solution, which is to bring people together to have peace and a long-term solution which is to address the things the people are faced with over the years.
“If we do not have peace, we cannot address these issues. It is important that we organise those who can help us in the process and I am extremely 100 per cent committed to looking at these and the need to make amends.”
Kachikwu reiterated his commitment to finding peace and opportunities in the south-south, saying that if most of these coastal states could not attract the kind of development visible in Dubai, then the country has failed.
“It would amount to failure because we have the resources and everything going for us,” he said.
“It is important that we work collectively and all those who have taken to militancy must collapse all of that, come back to the table and let us speak with a voice and seek solutions.”