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Details have emerged on why leading oil and gas conglomerate, Shell voted up to $1bn for the planned redevelopment of oil rich Niger Delta. In an interview with a top official in Lagos who pleaded anonymity, the senior staff said “Well, Shell did what it did to show that it committed to the growth and development of Niger Delta”.
Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo who is on the second leg of his peace and dialogue tour of the oil-rich region had revealed during a Town hall meeting in Port Harcourt that Shell had pledged to contribute $1bn to redevelop the oil region.
According to him, “A funding of $1 billion at $200 million per annum over five years has been provided by Shell to provide drinking water, conduct health impact assessment and demonstrate remediation technologies.
“A groundbreaking for the construction of Centre of Excellence will be launched in a few days.
“Training of 2,000 women from four local government areas in greenhouse, shrimp, poultry farming for empowerment will commence soon.
“Environmental remediation is important throughout the entire region,” Osinbajo said.
He said the vicious cycle of abandonment amidst plenty and neglect of the region must stop, adding that this underscored the priority given to the cleanup of Ogoniland by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Osinbajo said the inauguration of the governing council and board of trustees on August 4, 2016 and January 12, 2017, were some measures taken by the administration to ensure the cleanup of Ogoniland.
While noting that the fears being expressed that these projects would be abandoned should not be entertained, as they were not being handled alone by the federal government, Vice President said there was no reason infrastructure built in the region could not be compared to infrastructure built in oil-producing communities anywhere in the world.
He promised that coal powered refineries and issues surrounding the construction of petrochemical plants would be looked into by the government.
He said the federal government was interested in the continuation of the amnesty programme.
“We must recommit to making the Niger Delta region a vibrant economic zone,” Osinbajo said, adding that the government intended to use small and medium businesses to drive and create employment and stimulate growth in the area.
“I have made notes, I have listened carefully; this will be a beginning that will change the narrative of the Niger Delta.