Close to two years after the Federal Government launched the $10b Infrastructure Fund to stimulate development in the Niger Delta, there is no trace of the fund anywhere. In October 2016, the Federal Government launched the $10b Infrastructure Fund to end insurgency and introduce sustainable development in the region.
Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu alongside President Muhammadu Buhari, who also is the Petroleum Minister during a ceremony to announce the plan, promised that the fund would not be tied to budgeting, and that government was introducing a joint account with oil companies to ensure inflows were clearly understood by all. The fund, which may have originated from the 2012 “Niger Delta Action Plan,” was expected to come from different players to complement other sources of funds going into the oil-rich area.
Reports show revealed no trace of such Fund, and efforts to get the ministry to shed light on it proved abortive. When Kachikwu was contacted through his media team, headed by Idang Alibi and Uche Adighibe, via telephone calls on Thursday, June 7th (at 3:19 pm) there was no response. By 4:08 same day, an email on the issue was sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, and emmanuel.kachikwu@petroleumresources, and email@example.com, as well as firstname.lastname@example.org were copied, but no reply was received as at the time of filing this report
On Friday, the report was followed up with a phone call to Alibi, who confirmed the email, but insisted that he could not view it due to network challenges. He, therefore, requested for a text message on the issue at stake. That was done at 3:40 pm on Friday, June 8, but Alibi was yet to respond to the text message as at press time. However, Founder and Principal Partner, Nextier, Patrick Okigbo III, whose firm participated in planning the fund is unsure if any significant progress has been made to even raise the fund.
According to him, the fund might have suffered from the general economic downturn conditioned by the economic recession.”My firm, Nextier, was part of the team that designed this fund. Some efforts were made in 2013 and 2014 to advance this idea. The current administration found value in the design and indicated its interest to implement the recommendations. To the best of my knowledge, I am not aware that significant progress has been made to raise the fund. I will not be surprised if the fund suffered from the general economic downturn conditioned by the economic recession,” he said. Okigbo, who said significant amount of funds have gone into the region, stressed that the lack of transparency and accountability in the processes remained the primary barrier to the efforts.