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USAID pledges increased support for Niger Delta region

Retired Brig-Gen. Paul Boroh, The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs and Chairman Presidential Amnesty Programme,
Retired Brig-Gen. Paul Boroh, The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs and Chairman Presidential Amnesty Programme,

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has pledged increased support to the Niger Delta region of the country for sustainable development.

Mr Michael Harvey, USAID’s Mission Director in Nigeria gave this indication, Thursday in Abuja when he visited the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) Office.

He said that USAID remained committed to development of the region and was ready to collaborate with relevant stakeholders on development programmes in the area.

“USAID remains committed to physical and human capital development of the Niger Delta, and we are ready to collaborate with relevant stakeholders in that regards,’’ he said.

Havey advised governments at all levels to show increased commitment to the plight of the Niger Delta indigenes and to improve their collaboration with USAID for the progress of the region.

He lamented the fact that government institutions in the region appeared to have been grounded and urged the governors of the states in the area to show more commitment to improving the lot of their people.

“When we went round the region, we discovered that most government infrastructure are not functional, but it is important for standards to be set so that things will be done right.

“Governors of the region will need to increase their commitment to the plight of their people and to ensure that decisions are taken in the interest of the people.

“The oil-rich region has enormous resource that can be deployed for infrastructural development but little is done by the political leaders; there is need for improvement,’’ he said.

The USAID director said that the agency was also working closely with farmers to access quality seedlings, while urging the Nigerian government to improve its support for agriculture.

“We are working closely with the federal and state governments to ensure that farmers, particularly in the Niger Delta, have access to quality seedlings, and that they are not short-changed.

“USAID has been supporting agriculture in Nigeria for the past 10 years and we will continue to do that,’’ he said.

Responding, Chairman, PAP, Brig-Gen. Paul Boroh (retd), commended Havey for the visit to identify areas of possible collaboration with the agency on empowerment of former agitators for non-oil business engagement in the area.

”The PAP has been collaborating with the USAID in the area of skills acquisition for the Niger Delta youths.

”We are working on short-term, medium-term as well as long-term measures to improve engagement and empowerment of the Niger Delta youths,” he said.

Boroh stated that the Federal Government was committed to developing the Niger Delta, and would sustain the amnesty programme.

He also assured the USAID mission director that adequate steps would be taken to strengthen the partnership between both agencies.

The USAID has been in partnership with PAP in sustaining peace and development in post-conflict Niger Delta.

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