Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Niger Delta Situation Now Controllable - Obasanjo

President Olusegun Oba-sanjo yesterday stated that, despite recent hos-tage takings and the death of an expatriate held hostage in the Niger Delta, the situation in the volatile area is now controllable.

Though he described the recent development as “unfortunate and embarrassing”, he however declared that the situation in the area "is becoming more controllable."
The President, in a meeting with members of the Honorary International Investors Council (HIIC) in State House yesterday, also noted that in addition to the establishment of the Niger Delta Development Comm-ission (NNDC), the recent setting up of the quarterly meeting of the All-Stakeholders Council on the Socio-Economic Development of the Niger Delta, had "opened a new way of doing things" in the region.

Obasanjo, who attributed the problem of the Niger Delta to "accumulated neglect of the past," and the misconception by some groups, particularly the youth, that the neglect could be corrected overnight, admitted collective guilt of individuals, communities, oil companies, local, state and Federal Governments.
He, however, noted that the youth had now come to realise that "this is the first time that somebody is doing something" meaningful in the area, and the "communities are now condemning hostage-taking," as an uncivilised way of expressing grievances.

Referring to the construction of the multi-billion naira East-West highway by the Federal Government that would open up Niger Delta hinterland within the next four years, the President said the youth "are now seeing that we mean business" in tackling the long neglect of the area which could not be remedied overnight.

Nigeria Trade with Brazil now a record $4.9bn

Total volume of exports from Nigeria to Brazil last year amounted to $4.9 billion, Nigerian envoy to South America, Mr Kayode Garrick, said yestterday in Abuja.
Garrick, who also holds a concurrent accreditation to Paraguay and Bolivia, said within the period under review, Brazil exported goods and services amounting to about $900 million to Nigeria.

He said this in an interview at the on-going maiden Africa-South America summit, adding that this year, we hope to surpass that target.''
He said trade relations, especially between Brazil and Nigeria had been impressive.

Garrick said the summit would further strengthen existing relations between Africa and Nigeria in particular, with South America.
He said: “in the area of energy for example, Brazil has developed its bio-fossils and the use of ethanol as an alternative to fuel. This is the kind of diversification Nigeria could learn from.”

Paraguay has also recorded some strides in education, agriculture and bio-fossils. We share similar vegetation and climate.
The summit of African Union (AU) nations and the Community of South American Nations (CASA), Garrick noted, would endorse and implement commitment and realisation of what the South-south partnership had worked for over the years, to provide the regions with a platform for wider and more frequent consultations in the face of globalisation.

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