The Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, said that Nigeria is capable of producing three million barrels of crude oil per day from the Niger Delta region.
Kachikwu stated this at a stakeholders’ meeting organised by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs on Tuesday, January 31, in Abuja.
Apart from the Niger Delta Ministry, the convener, the meeting was also attended by officials from the, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCD & MB), among others.
The minister said the insecurity in the region had been undermining the nation’s capacity to realise its potential in oil production.
“It is important we continue to sustain the institutional engagement and negotiations which are key to the development of the region.
“Our target is zero militancy by the middle of 2017, and an incident reduction in the region by 90 per cent by 2018.
“We must resolve current militancy problems and bring back oil production to 2.2 million barrels per day,” he said.
He lamented that over $40 billion had been spent in 12 years and there was no infrastructure on ground to justify the huge expenditure profile.
Kachikwu said that a lot would have been achieved if there were zeal to collaborate in such a manner.
Kachikwu urged the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and other partners to commence immediate action in this regard.
Kachikwu said there was need to create stability incentive schemes, jobs and investment opportunities, so that the government would look at cross border investments to strengthen the region.
The minister said the government was introducing a joint account with oil companies to foster transparency in cash calls and ensure that inflows were clearly understood by all.
“We are targeting 30 per cent cost savings, which we can link to transparency.
“What is most important is not the amount of the fund; it’s the conceptualization of that funding.
“Governors will have to come together as a regional block to look at cross-state investments in roads, railways, town facilities or specialist hospitals.
“We are going to pool in energy and ensure we look at cross border investments to strengthen the region” he said.
Kachikwu said government was also looking at the amnesty programme to absorb some of the trained ex-agitators in the areas of coastal patrol and Niger Delta paramilitary type organisations.
The Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), (retired) Brig.-Gen. Paul Boroh, in his remarks reaffirmed the readiness and determination of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to find a permanent solution to the problems of the region.
Boroh, who doubles as the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, said that the current administration deserved cooperation and support for appreciating the environmental challenges of the region.
He disclosed that the ex-militants in the region were trained on fish farming, snail farming etc by the National Biotechnology Resources Centre, as parts of the Federal Government’s efforts to gainfully engage them in responsible living.