Gov. Theodore Orji of Abia on Tuesday expressed displeasure with the performance of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, saying that the ministry had not made any impact in Abia.
Orji made the remark in Umuahia when the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Godsday Orubebe, paid him a courtesy visit.
The governor, represented by his Deputy, retired Col. Emeka Ananaba, said that the government was disturbed that the ministry had not executed any meaningful projects in Abia.
“Is Abia still part of the Niger Delta region? If we were aware that you were coming, we would have welcomed you with placards to ask you what we have done to deserve the neglect by the ministry,’’ he said.
Orji expressed regret that Orubebe had not inaugurated any project in Abia since he assumed office.
He said that contractors hired by the ministry to rehabilitate the Obehie-Ukanafun road were building the road with `bare hands and wheel barrows.’
“This is not what is expected in this millennium,” Orji said, adding that the ministry should treat the state as a part of the Niger Delta.
The governor also stated that there was no proof that the ministry had employed Abia indigenes since its establishment, contrary to the minister’s claim.
He said that the state was not aware of the claim by the ministry that it employed 41 persons and also trained 67.
“We do not have such records with us anywhere in the state,” he said.
Orji said that creation of jobs for Abia youths would help to check kidnapping and other violent crimes in the state.
Earlier in his speech, the minister said that he was in Abia to brief the governor on the ministry’s conference on Niger Delta, billed for Uyo, Akwa Ibom.
He explained that the conference would produce a road map on how to effectively tackle the challenges confronting the region.
The minister claimed that 41 Abia youths were among the 300 persons employed by the ministry, in addition to the 67 persons from the state who benefited from the ministry’s training programme in agriculture, marine and commerce.
He said that skill acquisition centres built in the state by the ministry would soon be inaugurated. (NAN)