Nigeria’s minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu has been quiet of late.

He is lamenting the state of underdevelopment of the Niger Delta region – the region that produces the resources upon which Nigeria’s economy is built.

Kachikwu was quoted to have said in a certain podcast that the amount of problems inherited by the current administration from the Niger Delta means that nothing literally was done by past administrations.

He said although over $40 billion, about 14 trillion naira, has been pumped into the region in the past 15 years, the impact of such huge fund, had not been felt in the oil-rich area.

“This (podcast) edition would focus strictly on the Niger Delta security issue. The sheer amount of problems we inherited from the Niger Delta means that literally nothing was done.

“The country was getting crippled; no money for investment; no money for infrastructure, and no money to run the budget. We had to move in very rapidly with the support of the President.

“We dealt with three fundamental issues. We decided to deal first with the environment and security issues. What are we going to do with the environment? The first thing we realised was that the one-on-one engagement would not take us to the promised land and we embarked on wider interventions,” Kachikwu said.

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According to him, the interventions in the region have created sanity in Nigeria’s oil sector, a development that led to increased capital spending by the government and increased foreign exchange reserves.

He added: “The area where I think we have done a lot of work is in capacity building and economic empowerment. The greatest problem with the Niger Delta has been that.

“It is not because money has not gone in. Inter-agency researches that we have done showed that over $40bn has gone into the Niger Delta in a period of over 15 years.

“So, what we are trying to do is working under the office of the Vice-President, we are working in conjunction with the Ministry of Niger Delta, Ministry of Environment, Niger Delta Development Commission, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, oil companies and everybody.”

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