*Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu.
21 September 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, worldwide has called on the Federal government through the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to urgently kick-start the Export Processing Zone, EPZ, and the Deep Seaport Projects in Delta State to boost economic activities in the Niger Delta region and the country at large.
The proposed EPZ at Ogidigben and the deep sea port at Gbaramatu, all in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State, according to the IYC, are expected to provide direct jobs for more than ten thousand people.
Speaking, IYC President, Barr. Eric Omare, recalled that preliminary jobs such as bush clearing and other related activities of the EPZ, had started during the regime of former President Goodluck Jonathan after the foundation laying ceremony.
Omare expressed sadness that under the Jonathan administration the EPZ and Deep sea projects were given priority attention with foreign investors prepared to invest; but the projects seems to have been abandoned since the assumption of office of President Muhammadu Buhari despite promises by Petroleum Minister, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu.
He restated that the projects are important to the Niger Delta people, as it will engender the economic development of the region as well as create jobs to unemployed youths, warning that a hungry man is an angry man.
According to him, “We call on the federal government to demonstrate its commitment to tackle the challenges of youth restiveness, militancy and unemployment in the Niger Delta region by quickly embarking on these projects.
“These projects are very important to the economic revival of the Niger Delta region especially Warri and Delta State considering the fact that their implementation would lead to the dredging of the Warri channel from Escravos bar to Warri port to facilitate transportation of goods.
“The fabrication and other related activities coupled with the dredging of the Escravos bar to Warri port would definitely revive the now moribund Warri seaport in Delta State.
“The federal government cannot be talking of sustaining the present peace in the Niger Delta region in the midst of hunger; The government must realize that hunger instigates crisis.”