President Buhari’s Remarkable Development Initiatives in the Niger Delta
The APC Legacy Awareness and Campaign, a voluntary think-tank group of the governing party, hereby specially acknowledge the remarkable development initiatives in the Niger Delta region of the country. A region well-endowed but left to the negative consequences of mineral exploitation, in particular oil extractive activities, by previous administrations, under President Buhari’s watch, the Ogoni Clean Up has finally kicked off. The procurement process for the clean-up commenced in 2018, while the actual remediation commenced in January 2019, with the handing over of the first batch of 21 sites to the selected contractors, for remediation. A second batch of sites was handed over in February 2020. Fifteen sites have now been fully cleaned, while work continues on others.
In addition to the remediation, the Clean Up project is also rehabilitating old water schemes and constructing new ones across Ogoniland. One of the first tasks in the Clean Up was a water quality assessment in all four local governments that make up Ogoniland. The Project will also make interventions in healthcare facilities and systems in the region. The Clean-Up has so far created hundreds of jobs for locals.
Until 2016, there was only one functioning Modular Refinery in the Niger Delta, with a capacity to refine 1,000 barrels of crude oil per day. Today, spurred by the Buhari Administration’s New Vision for the Niger Delta, there are several Modular Refinery construction projects ongoing across the Niger Delta, all led by the private sector.
The original 1,000 bpd Refinery in Rivers State, which began operations in 2011, has under President Buhari’s watch expanded into an 11,000 bpd facility. In November 2020 President Buhari commissioned the first phase of the Waltersmith Refinery in Imo State. The OPAC Refinery in Delta State has also been completed. The ones in Edo and Bayelsa States are under construction, while Waltersmith has flagged off construction of its second phase.
One of the biggest investments Nigeria has seen in a while is the Train 7 of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited, in Bonny, Rivers State. More than a decade after Train 6 was completed and launched, President Buhari has in 2021 flagged off construction of Train 7. Until he became President, the project had stalled, the victim of a lack of political will from the previous administration. The Train 7 project will attract around $10 billion dollars of domestic and foreign investment, while creating several thousand jobs, and asserting Nigeria’s place on the global map of gas producing countries.
Several other investments are ongoing across the Niger Delta, spurred by the relative peace and security being enjoyed, as well as the President’s unwavering commitment to develop the region and help it make up for decades of neglect, pollution and underinvestment. The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) is developing, among other projects, a pioneering Oil and Gas Park in Bayelsa State, scheduled for completion at the end of 2022. The Park will be serviced by a 10MW power plant.
The Presidential Amnesty Programme, inherited from previous administrations, has continued to deliver on its mandate, with the full support of the President. The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is being reformed and repositioned, in line with the President’s vision of ensuring that the people of the Niger Delta benefit maximally from the wealth of their land. The Administration has recently completed and commissioned the Commission’s Headquarters, 25 years after construction began, and after several spells of abandonment by previous governments.
A comprehensive forensic audit of the NDDC has just been completed; the first of such audit since the Commission was established. The President is determined to ensure a clean break from the mismanagement and corruption of the past.
In terms of physical infrastructure, the 338km East-West Road, running across four States of the region — Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom — is now receiving priority attention, more than a decade after the contract was first awarded. The President is committed to completing the first four sections of the Road by 2022.
The 39km Bodo-Bonny Bridges and Road project is another landmark infrastructure project being delivered by the Buhari Administration, for the people of the Niger Delta. Comprising several bridges, as well as a road network, it will connect Bonny Island, Nigeria’s gas hub, to Ogoniland on the Rivers Mainland, opening up several once-isolated communities for commerce, investment and development. The project was first conceived in the late 1970s, but all the contracts awarded prior to the Buhari Administration were aborted. President Buhari has finally broken the jinx. Construction started on the project in 2017 and it is now set for completion in 2022.
The very first Water Supply project to be completed by the Buhari Administration, in 2016, was the Central Ogbia Water Supply Scheme, in Bayelsa State. The region’s dream of a Maritime University has also come to fruition under President Buhari, with the licensing and operationalization of the Maritime University in Okerenkoko, Delta State, in 2018, and the allocation of a generous take-off grant by the President.
After close to two decades of false starts, the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) has seen the light of day, with the signing of the historic PIB into law by President Buhari on August 16, 2021. This is yet another jinx broken by President Buhari. The PIA will make available an estimated $500 million annually for host communities to deploy for developmental projects – this is unprecedented in the history of Nigeria. Never before has any dedicated fund existed to serve host communities.
Another jinx broken is the inability to carry out a bid round for Marginal oil fields, since 2003. This year the Department of Petroleum Resources concluded the first such bid round in 18 years, with an estimated value of around half a billion dollars in expected revenues for the government, in addition to billions of dollars that will be invested in the purchased assets and host communities.
The Presidential declaration of the year 2020 as the Year of Gas, followed by the declaration of 2021 to 2030 as the Decade of Gas, as well as the launch of the National Gas Expansion Programme in 2020, will attract new investment into the Niger Delta, which is Nigeria’s gas-producing region, and create jobs and economic opportunities for the people.
Even as his administration enters its final lap, President Buhari will not relent in the implementation of his vision of a safe, secure and prosperous Niger Delta.
Barr. Ismail Ahmed
Mr. Lanre Issa-Onilu
Mr. Tolu Ogunlesi
Mr. Salihu Moh. Lukman
August 23, 2021