11 September 2008
Not another ministry
On Wednesday, Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua announced plans for the creation of a ministry dedicated solely to the Niger Delta that will focus on development and youth empowerment. This move comes amid a wholesale restructuring of the governments federal ministries and on the heels of the announcement of a 40 member panel, the so-called "Niger Delta Peace Committee," to begin a "dialogue" about how to resolve the conflict in the area. These two new revelations have risen out of the ashes of the failed Niger Delta Summit, which was roundly criticized and ultimately scrapped over the summer.
What is the government playing at here? The names have changed but the insincerity remains. Layering more levels of bureaucracy on top of a nearly incomprehensible system of existing commissions, development entitities, and so on, is absurd. If pre-existing entities like the NDDC don't work, and this is the message from Abuja when they anounce plans to create redundant structures, why do they still exist? In its attempt to appear concerned and keep busy on the issues of the Niger Delta, the Nigerian government has once again come off looking foolish.