SIWP and portal secure high-level backing!

Hon. Minister of State, MNDA, Senator Omotayo Alasoadura in group photograph with a cross-section of participants at the round table discussion meeting on the SIWP held at Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja – 12th March, 2020

 SDN has worked with, and across, ministries in the Federal Government to finally secure high-level backing of the Strategic Implementation Work Plan (SIWP), which we hope will improve the coordination, transparency, and accountability of development projects in the Niger Delta, in line with regional and government priorities. The SIWP centralises development project plans and provides a focal point to push for longer-term development initiatives that benefit wider swathes of the Niger Delta rather than short-term palliatives for agitators. Federal Executive Council (FEC) approval of the SIWP is an important milestone in securing the implementation of the SIWP, although more work is needed. Similar initiatives have been promised to quell rounds of militancy and support long-term development in the Niger Delta but have failed to be implemented, sparking frustrations and cycles of insecurity and peace talks.

Hon. Minister of State delivering his keynote address at a round table discussion meeting on the SIWP held at Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja – 12th March, 2020 (flanked on the right by the Permanent Secretary of the MNDA and Programme Director Calvin Laing of SDN)

Background to the SIWP

The idea for the SIWP was first developed by the Office of the Vice President of Nigeria- Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. This was in response to the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) demands in 2016, which were presented as a 16-Point Agenda, entitled ‘Solving Niger Delta Issues by Dialogue’ as the minimum precondition for peace and security in the region. The demands followed a series of targeted attacks by the ‘Niger Delta Avengers’ on oil infrastructure in the Niger Delta, cutting oil production from over 2 million barrels per day to just over 700,000 barrels per day.

Attacks on oil infrastructure stopped with the Federal Government’s 2017 policy statement that the SIWP would be created and comprise some of PANDEF’s 16-point demands and the Federal Government’s 20-point agenda. This was greeted with a lot of enthusiasm, but progress has been slow, with delays caused by national elections and Covid-19, but the FEC approval is now a significant milestone. Throughout that period, SDN worked with the Ministry for Niger Delta Affairs (MNDA) to sustain momentum behind the SIWP. For an idea of scale, the SIWP would incorporate to what was, at the time of inception, 485 projects and a budget of N2.1 trillion.

Benefits of the SIWP and SIWP online portal

If implemented properly, with the required commitment, the SIWP should improve government planning, consultation, and coordination on development projects in the Niger Delta, reducing duplication (waste) and providing a platform for proper dialogue on regional priorities.

We hope the SIWP online portal will improve transparency on government programmes in the region, with a portal that shows the type, monetary value, contractors, location, and current status of individual projects.

Together, the SIWP and its online portal have the potential to help avert future rounds of insecurity, by delivering government programmes more effectively in the Niger Delta, and creating a framework for delivering a long-term, holistic . plan for the development of the Niger Delta.

Currently, political commitment to the SIWP and its online portal seems to be firm as the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio, made the following comment after the presentation of the SIWP memo, at the FEC:

The second memo I presented was on what we call Strategic Implementation Work Plan (SIWP), for the Niger Delta region. The intention here is to have a web-based monitoring system, an e-portal where all the agencies under us and development partners as well as non-governmental organizations including states and local governments that are involved in implementing projects in the Niger Delta region. We will have all their projects keyed into that portal. This is to ensure that at the touch of the button you can see what each company, state or local government, or international organisation is doing as they add value to the Niger Delta region

(Premium Times, March 10th, 2021)

What needs to be done Next

The FEC approval of the SIWP and its online portal is a significant step towards its implementation, but by no means does it secure it. A lot more work by SDN and the MNDA is required to see the SIWP through to implementation, including:

  • working across MDAs to put the SIWP into action (e.g. gather project info to be published on the portal, and set up a monitoring process to track all projects).
  • publicising and launching the SIWP online portal to the public and civil society in the Niger Delta, to enable them to also track project progress.
  • facilitating consultation through the SIWP on regional priorities
Find out more about our People’s portal project that supported this work.
Visit the SIWP Portal

Published: 20. 07.2021

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