Governor Sheriff Oborevwori has said that Delta State Government’s will continue to collaborate with various initiatives geared towards sustainable peace building and development in the Niger Delta, including European Union-supported programmes and projects of community-based peace architecture, youth employment and conflict resolution platforms.
In the same vein, the state government will continue to offer a hand of fellowship with various partners of the EU working in the oil rich region to “raise a new generation of leaders and thinkers that will change the narrative in the Niger Delta region”, he assured.
Oborevwori stated this on Friday in an address he delivered at the official launch of the European Union (EU) funded project, “A Community-Centered Approach to Transforming Criminality and Violence in the Niger Delta”, held at Government House Asaba.
The governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Sir Monday Onyeme, noted that the European Union (EU) funded projects were designed to impart knowledge, skills and attitudes in a systematic manner to achieve a renewed sense of civic responsibility in the target communities through building of strong and enduring intra-and inter-community relationships.
While agreeing with the initiative perception that peace could not be divorced from development, the governor be said his administration considered the EU backed programmes as complementary to the peace and development policies and programmes of Delta State, especially in the spirit of the M.O.R.E agenda.
Oberevwori said, “This is obviously in tandem with our goal of enhanced peace and security through youth engagement and empowerment, creation of job opportunities through infrastructural renewal, and a new policy thrust in our education system that prioritizes skills acquisition.”
According to him, “one of the triggers of unrest and instability in any society is financial exclusion, lack of social cohesion and the absence of shared values”, adding that despair and discontent in the general populace bred trouble.
While commending the European Union and other partners for the programme, the governor expressed confidence that the peace prevailing atmosphere of peace in Delta State will be greatly enhanced through these projects.
Oberevwori said, “The European Union deserves applause for making their resources available to us in this regard. I must thank them for their interest and willingness to invest in 24 communities in Delta State, spread across 12 local government areas. This is a huge human capital development effort, and it is my expectation that those who will be entrusted with managing the different aspects of the programme will do their job with utmost zeal, dedication and integrity.
“I am persuaded that the ‘bottom-up, inclusive and community-centred approach’ of this project, will inspire hope in our people, foster behavioural changes, and give them a sense of belonging. It is therefore, incumbent on the project managers to display the highest levels of fairness, transparency, and accountability in the discharge of their duties.”
Earlier in an address, the Country Director, Search for Common Ground, Fatima Abubakar, noted that the project titled “A Community-Centered Approach to Transforming Criminality and Violence in the Niger Delta”, marks a noteworthy milestone in its collaborative endeavors to promote inclusive community security approaches and address the root causes of violence and criminality in the Niger Delta.
According to her; “We are abreast of the local context of the region, its history, challenges and conflict dynamics that have shaped the current political, economic and social landscape of the region. Consequently, Search designs its projects to collaborate with local and international partners to spearhead impactful initiatives aimed at mitigating violence and building resilience in communities across the Niger Delta.
“One such notable initiative was the ‘Tomorrow is a New Day’ project, implemented from 2013 to 2015 with funding from the European Union. This violence-reduction project contributed to stability in the Niger Delta, facilitating the peaceful reintegration of ex-militants and promoting community reconciliation.
“In Delta State, the project left a lasting impact in Warri South and Warri North Local Government Areas through innovative approaches like community reintegration, radio drama, community radio, and trauma healing. Through the project, infrastructural interventions such as the construction of internal roads and community radio stations were built in Koko and Oporoza communities.”
She called on all Stakeholders to use this opportunity to build a resilient and peaceful Delta State, setting an example for sustainable development and community-driven transformation.
Goodwill messages from different non-governmental organizations (NGOs), security agencies and other stakeholders in the Niger-Delta were presented, including Partnership Initiative in Niger Delta (PIND), AAPW, as well as Bridget Anyafulu, representing the Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly, Emomotimi Guwor; and, aide to the Delta State Governor on civil society organisations, Rex Ainighoro, who else concern about ongoing conciliation move in Warri to douse ethnic tension.