Niger Delta Leaders List 16 Things That Would Effect Stability In The Region

President Muhammadu Buhari through his Senior Special Assistant, Garba Shehu, said while in a meeting with stakeholders of the Niger Delta region that If anybody has a country to go to, let him go, we will stay here and salvage our country.
Shehu said the high-level meeting with leaders and other stakeholders was to seek ways to end the militancy and the sabotage of oil infrastructure in the Niger Delta region.

He noted that Buhari had a vision of unity and progress for the country in which peace reigns and said peace, security, investment and prosperity are linked together.
If we give peace a chance, investors will come here to invest. Nobody will invest in an insecure environment, the president added. 

Shehu said Buhari, “in a speech dripping with nationalist fervour”, stressed that the problems his administration found on the ground were many as illustrated in collapse of oil prices, inability of 27 of the 36 states of the Federation to pay salaries, absence of savings to fall back and having to deal with an elite who didn’t seem to care.

The president was said to have stated that all these made his government to conclude that “life as usual is no longer affordable.”

Buhari said he was still expecting reports from officials he had instructed to review the implementation of the amnesty programme to determine where government fell short so that amends can be made.
Meanwhile, the leaders of the Niger Delta region presented a 16 conditions that would effect peace in the region:
The Presidential Amnesty Programme: The Niger Delta decried that of the five components of the disarmament and retrieval of weapons from the ex-militants, only the disarmament and demobilisation component was being implemented. Tension over the fate of the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme is as a result of the absence of a genuine exit strategy. The region wants the programme reviewed to reappraise its core mandate to provide a robust exit strategy, in order to transit recipients into jobs, effectively integrate them and wean them off dependency on stipends, so that their new-found skills would be of benefit to themselves and the larger community.

Law and Justice: In view of the insecurity in the Niger Delta, a number of pending law and justice issues regarding some aggrieved groups and individuals are yet to be resolved. It is important to address these issues urgently as a step towards lasting peace.

The effect of increased military presence in the Niger Delta: The increase in military presence has resulted in invasion of communities, displacement of persons, harassment and other forms of human rights abuses. The region wants government to halt the escalation of tension in the region.

Plight of internally displaced persons: They want the relevant government agencies to take urgent measures to meet the immediate needs of those displaced by the upsurge of insecurity in the region.

The Ogoni clean-up and environmental remediation: They want government to speed up the exercise. They want government to enforce the zero gas flare deadline. They want the devastating effects of coastal erosion and lack of an effective shoreline protection for the coastal communities tackled urgently. They ask the federal government to commission a region-wide credible assessment of the impact of crude oil pollution on the environment in the region and undertake to enforce environmental laws.

The Maritime University: The region wants the prompt take-off of the Niger Delta University.

Key regional critical infrastructure: They want the completion of the East-West Road and full implementation of the rail project that is designated to run through the Niger Delta region to Lagos.

Security surveillance and protection of oil and gas infrastructure: They want pipeline surveillance contracts given to the communities rather than to individuals in a manner that is of some benefits to their responsibility. Communities would then see their responsibility over the pipelines as protection of what belongs to them.

Relocation of the administrative and operational headquarters of the IOCs: The headquarters of most oil companies are not located in the Niger Delta region. As a result the region is denied of all the developmental and associated benefits that would have accrued to the region from their presence. It has therefore become imperative for the IOCs to relocate to their areas of operation. This move would create a mutually beneficial relationship with the host communities.

Power Supply: The region advocated a power plan that strongly ties power supply in the region to gas supply, thereby giving all sides a stake in proved stability.

Economic development and empowerment: The Niger Delta wants Brass LNG and a fertiliser plant, including the Train 7 of Nigeria LNG implemented; a review and update of the national gas master plan to integrate the economic interests and industrialisation of the region; the creation of a Niger Delta industrial corridor that would process some portions of the hydrocarbon natural resources; expedited work on the export processing zones; and the harnessing of the huge rain-fed agricultural potential of the area through the development of farm estates, fishery development projects and agro-allied industrial clusters, etc.

Inclusive participation in oil industry and ownership of oil blocs: The region wants the federal government to enunciate policies and actions that will address the lack of participation, as well as the imbalance in the ownership of oil and gas assets.

Restructuring and funding of the NDDC: The restructuring will ensure it is refocused as a true interventionist agency to respond swiftly to the yearnings of the grassroots of the Niger Delta. Communities must be able to have a say in what projects come to them and also want full implementation of the funding provisions of the NDDC Act.

Strengthening the Niger Delta Ministry: It said the era of abysmal funding should end. The ministry should be adequately funded and strengthened to fulfill the purpose for which it was created.

The Bakassi Question: The Niger Delta recommend a comprehensive resettlement plan, including development for the host communities and displaced population to reduce the risk of making them into stateless persons.

Fiscal Federalism: The region supports the call for true federalism and urged that federal government treats the matter expeditiously.

The president, according to Shehu, however cautioned the leaders of the Delta that they had more to do than anyone else to bring peace to the region, given the influence they have on militant groups.

Buhari expressed the determination of his administration to stay focused on its key campaign promises of securing the country, fighting corruption and creating jobs through the improvement of the economy.

The president also delivered his report on the war against corruption and the efforts to secure the country, repeating his call to the Niger Delta leaders to join the administration in bringing peace to the troubled region.
Nobody wants to fail. So, the only way out is, if people understand and believe that we are doing our best at all levels, then we will have some peace. But if they have reason to doubt our performance and sincerity, then we will have problem, he said.

The Niger Delta leaders were said to have reaffirmed their support for Buhari’s government and expressed total commitment to the unity, peace and stability of Nigeria.

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