The Federal Government has expended more than 40 billion dollars in the Niger Delta region in the last four years, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, has said.
Kachikwu, who made the disclosure on Friday when he paid a visit to Ijaw leader Chief Edwin Clark in Warri, said that the creeks were underdeveloped in spite the huge resources.
He said that the problem of the Niger Delta region goes beyond militancy, adding that it required short and long terms solutions.
“The short term solution is bringing the people together to have peace while the long term solution is to see how we can develop the region.
“I will be part of the dialogue team; as soon as I get back, I will put apparatus in place.
“The president is very emphatic about peace in the region,’’ he said.
Kachikwu called for collective approach to address the issue.
He urged the leaders in the region to unite and speak with one voice like the Yoruba and other tribes in the country.
“I am not looking at ceasefire but a permanent peace in the Niger Delta. When there is destruction we suffer environmental losses.
“We just raised about 80 billion dollars from China; a lot of the money will be channel into gas, and it can’t work if there is no peace.
“The topography of Niger Delta is a wonder to be hold and if we cannot in our life time do something about it, we have failed God,’’ the minister said.