Niger Delta Ministry commences people-driven development policy

The policy is being developed and facilitated by the Foundation for Partnerships in the Niger Delta (PIND).

The policy, entitled “Niger Delta Regional Peace Building Strategy” (NDPRS), is receiving inputs from all segments of the society across the nine states of the region from May 15 to May1.

Speaking at the Bayelsa Town Hall meeting on Thursday in Yenagoa, Dr Dave Udofia, Peace Building Programme Manager at PIND, said that the partnership with MNDA is an outcome of several years of impactful work on peace advocacy in the region.

“Our involvement in this policy development is sequel to the effect of our work in the Niger Delta for year.

“We have been at the forefront of promoting sustainable peace and economic development in this region and it is evidence.

“We are adopting a bottom to top approach in developing this policy and are involving all segments of the society, including the youth, women, community and political leaders, market women and security agencies.

“This unique approach using town hall meetings will ensure that the people facing the challenges and gaps make suggestions to solving the problems as identified.

“The strategy is largely driven by input from the people and not foisted on the people,” Udofia said.

The participants, in three groups, identified extreme poverty, marginalisation, lack of resource control, bad leadership at community and political levels, insecurity and poor parenting as some of the major challenges to sustainable peace.

The stakeholders also made short- and long-term suggestions to the listed challenges.

Chief Chinedu Arthur-Ugwa, an Official of Ohanaeze Youths Group, in his contribution said the leaders of non indigenes in Bayelsa have imbibed religious and ethnic tolerance to promote peaceful coexistence in the state.

He said that the participants’ appeal to government to pay greater attention to the needs of the people based on their priorities was key to maintaining peac

Arthur-Ugwa urged the agency to ensure the implementation of the recommendations of the town hall sessions, adding that the country was lagging behind in policy implementation.

The Police Public Relations Officer in Bayelsa, SP Asinim Butswat, said that the security agencies required the collaboration of all stakeholders in the region to build sustainable peace.

He said that inter-agency cooperation amongst the security agencies had resulted in successful operations targeted at reducing crime and making the Niger Delta region peaceful for legitimate economic activities.