The Republic of Ireland has indicated its preparedness to partner Nigeria, using Cross River State as the pilot state, to ensure it attains socio-economic and infrastructural development.
This, the Irish government believes, will help address the problem of youth restiveness in the Niger Delta region.
Irish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Sean Hoy, who disclosed this while on a courtesy call on the governor of Cross River State, Prof Ben Ayade, explained that he was in Calabar, to develop a framework of development that involves the states and federal government in a bid to find the way forward in their respective developmental strives as well as help curb restiveness in the Niger Delta region.
Amb. Hoy, who also announced the establishment of a development centre in Calabar as part of the initiative, said: “I have visited Bayelsa and Rivers States before arriving here in Calabar and what I saw in those communities were disappointment in development process as I saw communities sit in the dark while some miles away, I saw light in the sky.
“We are here to support them, look at how the development of Niger Delta can be done better than before”, adding that , ‘’resources are not actually the problem, but how to prioritise issues of development for the impact on the people is where the missing link is and where government needs to come in.”
Responding, Cross River State Governor, Prof Ben Ayade, said it is critical to address the restiveness that has characterised the Niger Delta region as no development can take place where crisis and tension exist.
According to the Governor: “The crisis and challenges of Niger Delta are unpardonable,” adding that, “it is a legal, moral, complex, anthropological and sociological issue to resolve the complex within the ambit of human nature.”
He said “no matter how much you have given to a man, liberty is better than slavery,” pointing out that the people of the area yearn for, “redemption which comes from a philosophical change of attitude, re-orientation and restructuring of issues to ensure equity and fair play.
“How would you stay in perpetual darkness, with all your waterways spilled with oil, no source of livelihood, living in a hut, defecating into the river that you use as your source of drinking water, and just a mile away, somebody is lighting the sky?’
The governor said “a child that grows up in such circumstance must become restive by nature.”
He therefore, commended the Irish government on the choice of Calabar for the development centre, which it intends to run in partnership with the Savannah Centre.
In another development, The President, Germany-Africa Consortium, Mr Martins Jevor has disclosed the readiness of his organization to partner the state by taking advantage of enormous potentials that abound in the state to establish a mining factory.
Jevor who stated this during a courtesy visit to the governor, said apart from the peaceful investment climate that he sought, they were also ready to create the needed capacity among the young ones especially the vulnerable through educational exchange programme and assured the governor of adequate financing for all their proposed businesses in the state.
His words: “We are not here only for business but to build a future that will be beneficial to all. I am passionate about children’s welfare and wellbeing, I can give my life in ensuring that they live happily and get trained in vocational and entrepreneurial skills to better their lots and build a sustainable future for our countries.”
Responding, Governor Ben Ayade urged the Consortium to partner the state by investing in any of the signature projects of the administration.
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