The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide has thrown its weight behind a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) with the United States-based Atlanta Global Resources Inc. (AGRI) to build a railway network to connect all states in the region.
The IYC President Peter Timothy Igbifa, in a statement in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, said the entire stakeholders in the region were excited over such move by the board of the NDDC and were eagerly waiting for the realisation of the project.
Igbifa, who described the development as a paradigm shift from the past focus of the NDDC on quick-win projects, said sustainable and enduring projects like the proposed railway network would surely stimulate such economic activities required to place the Niger Delta on the fast lane of development.
The IYC boss argued that such railway network if realised would be the first project for regional integration, a big ticket developmental initiative, which he said was in tandem with the core mandate of the NDDC.
Igbifa said Niger Delta stakeholders were praying for the NDDC to pursue the proposed project to a logical conclusion insisting that all traditional rulers, youth groups, women, among others were united and had queued behind the commission to see the project come on stream.
He assured the local and international partners for the project that the Niger Delta people were united in their quest to see such project of regional dimension take place in the Niger Delta.
Igbifa appealed to the partners not to allow any lone voice discourage them from working with the management of the NDDC to achieve the proposed feat saying “Niger Delta is bigger than any individual”.
He, however, said youths and other stakeholders from the region would not allow a few envious and negative-minded individuals scuttle the proposed project.
He said: “When reports emerged from the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Summit organised by the NDDC that the commission had signed an MoU with a globally-rated US-based company to harness Technical, Materials and Financial Resources for a railway network to connect all the states in the Niger Delta, the region erupted in jubilation.
“We saw it as an answered prayer because we have been advocating a regional project of such magnitude to ensure developmental integration required to catalyse the economic growth of the Niger Delta.
“We have said that the core mandate of the NDDC is birthing big ticket projects that will link the entire Niger Delta State for sustainable development. NDDC was not created only to construct street roads and build houses. It was established to galvanized the rapid development of the region, which can only be achieved with projects of regional integration.
“All the stakeholders in the Niger Delta are united to actualise this rail project. And we are asking the board of the NDDC not to allow the project die at the conception stage. We will hold the management of this commission responsible if it chickens out and develop cold feet towards the project.
“We want to assure all the partners to the signed MoU, local and international especially the US-based company, which is expected to bring Capacity partners needed to drive the project that we are excited about and will provide the necessary support to actualise it.
“We have surveyed the region and discovered that all the stakeholders are united towards the realisation of this project. Therefore, there is nothing any lone voice can do to frustrate or scuttle it. We commend the board of the NDDC for conceiving this lofty project and assembling machinery to actualise it”.
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