Former governor of Delta State, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan has blamed the hostile attitude among Niger Deltans for the underdevelopment of the region.
Uduaghan stated this on Thursday at the 2021 Annual Lecture of Delta Online Publishers Forum (DOPF) in Asaba.
He noted that the activity of youths and local politics in the region was the reason why it remained unindustrialized.
According to him, not until the hostile attitude among the people of the region is addressed, the region will remain unattractive to possible investors.
“The Niger Delta region has been so hostile to investors and we cannot have the region industrialized until we change our attitude. We must go back to our communities to plead with them to be friendly to investors.
“We must encourage people to have production facilities. It may not be very large but let’s encourage small industries. We must also encourage big industries to also come by creating enabling environment.
“We need to collaboration between the oil companies, government and the people to encourage infrastructural development in the region.”
However, he lamented that despite the rich natural resources in the region, such resources have not been harnessed for the betterment of the region and her people.
He advocated for the opening up of the seaports in the region to create a new economy in Niger Delta.
Meanwhile, he urged the federal and state governments to collaborate and revitalize the seaports to open up the region for industrialization.
“Ports are very critical and I think we have the highest numbers of ports in the country. They are very critical for import and export. But unfortunately, many of them are down and the only active one is Warri port.
“Effort to encourage those who bought Koko and Burutu ports has not yielded result and I don’t think those who bought them have the capacity.
“We have Port Harcourt port, Calabar port, but the problem of Calabar port is because of its shallowness. The Niger Delta seaports are performing sub-optimally,” Uduaghan added.
He reminded journalists especially publishers of online news outlets in the region that they have a critical role to play in ensuring “there is sanity in the region.
“Do not forget that social media does not forget, so, whatever you put up can either build or destroy the image of the region. Of course, this can affect the economic development of the region.”