The Deputy Governor of Edo State Hon Philip Shuaibu has condemned in strong terms the strong-armed tactics of defrauding the Niger Delta region through massive diversion of funds meant for the development of the region.

Shuaibu, therefore, attributed the underdevelopment of the region to many years of funds diversion and fraud perpetrated against the region by powerful Nigerians for their selfish ends regardless of what transpired in the region.

Phillip Shuaibu, Edo Deputy Governor

The Deputy Governor was speaking in a programme in Benin city tagged Participatory and Response Governance for Sustainable Development in the Niger Delta.

Organized by the Niger Delta Institutions Learning Event with USAIDS and Leadership Initiative for Transformation and Empowerment LITE-Africa and Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice ANEEJ.

Damian Lawani, the Chairman Appropriation Committee of the Edo State House of Assembly who represented Shuabu advocated the execution of projects that have a direct impact on the people of the region.

He frowned at the establishment of white elephant projects and the numerous abandoned projects scattered all over the region. Shuabu further called for the use by the government of a bottom-top approach in project execution in the region.

According to Shuabu “it is unfortunate that some of those who are supposed to ask questions are friends to those whose duties are to monitor the utilization of these funds.

“We must educate the people that their interest is at stake, so they must ask questions relating to how these funds are utilized.

Earlier in his welcome address, Rev David Ugolor, who is the Executive Director of ANEEJ gave the rationale for the programme which he revealed as a forum to engage government agencies saddled with implementing development in the region in order to strengthened transparency and accountability.

ANEEJ means – African Network for Environment and Economic Justice

He called on the people of the region to hold all stakeholders responsible for the exploitation and generation of wealth in the region accountable on the judicious use of resources and revenue accruable to the region.

He warned Niger Delta people not to collude or partner with some powerful Nigerians to divert and siphon the wealth of the region through phantom contracts and projects insisting that the region will be the worst for it.