02 December 2015, Abuja – Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has said Nigeria’s over-dependence on oil resources is responsible for the high level of corruption, dwindling economy and the redundant human resource base in the country.
He also traced restiveness and agitation for resource control, especially in the South-south geo-political region to over-reliance on oil.
Osinbajo spoke yesterday in Port Harcourt at the inauguration of the Partners for Sustainable Development (PSD) Forum organised by the Niger Delta Development.
The vice-president, who was represented by the Deputy Chief of Staff in the Presidency, Mr. Adeola Ipaye, said the theme of the forum: ‘Restrategising Development Concepts in the Niger Delta Region to Provide for Post-Oil Wealth Socio-economic Sustainability,’ was strategic and apt because of the current global decline in oil revenue.
He also said the theme was timely as it was coming towards the commencement of the implantation of the new globally-adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“The country’s over-dependence on oil is only the cause of the downturn of the economy for now; it has been responsible for the emergence of redundant human resource base and high level of corruption.
He said: “It (over-dependence on oil resources) is also at the root of agitations for resource control, particularly from the South-south. The theme of the forum could not have been more apt, coming at the time that we have a global decline in oil revenue, especially in a country such as ours that has total dependence on oil for survival.”
He stated that the federal government was committed to the development of the Niger Delta region but insisted that stakeholders must ensure there was peace in the area.
He said: “Realising the concept of sustainable development comes with numerous challenges, especially the Niger Delta region that represents the world’s third largest wetlands, with several years of unaddressed oil pollution issues that has hindered agricultural growth of the region as well as affected general health of the populace.
“As a starting point, the stakeholders must at all levels of government and development agencies, come together as exemplified by this forum, to adopt policies related to the 17 goals of the forthcoming SDGs. These policies must also address the issues of diversification of the economy to achieve wealth creation.
“In addition, there can be no meaningful sustainable development without peace. Part of the policies and strategies in the region and beyond must include curbing militancy and eliminating terrorism.
“One of the challenges is the high cost of funding development initiatives in the region as a result of the peculiar terrain. This calls for intensive efforts, building collaborations and partnerships as well as sourcing for investment.”
On the clean-up of Ogoniland, Osinbajo explained that the federal government had begun the exercise in the area and other seriously affected communities, adding that government was putting measures in place to alleviate the impact of areas already polluted.
“The current government has already commenced work on the clean-up of the Ogoni area and other seriously affected communities. It will be our primary task to ensure that strategies are put in place to protect the environment as well as apply remediation measures to alleviate impact in areas already polluted,” he said.
Earlier, the Managing Director of the NDDC, Bassey Dan-Abia, listed poor funding of the commission as one of the challenges facing the intervention agency, even as he maintained that the NDDC should not be seen as an alternate government.