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Niger Delta Leaders demand oil blocs to end militancy •Make 15 other demands

By News Express on 01/11/2016

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Traditional leaders and some other indigenes of Nigeria’s Niger Delta have presented 16 things they are confident will end militancy and bring development in the region if the government will consider them.

They presented the requests to President Muhammadu Buhari at a meeting held on Tuesday in Abuja.

The demands include allocation of oil blocs to natives of the region, maritime university, stop of military occupation of communities and proper funding of the amnesty programme.

The demands also include extension of Ogoni clean-up to other areas of the region, employment opportunities for trained ex-militants and support for internally displaced persons in the region.

Other demands are relocation of international oil companies that have their head offices in Lekki and other places back to their areas of operations, infrastructural development, manpower and human resources development, federalism, among others.

Addressing reporters after the two-hour meeting, the leaders of the group, the traditional ruler of Amanyanobo Kingdom, King Alfred Diete-Spiff and Mr Edwin Clerk decried the lack of infrastructure, human resource, manpower and welfare of the people years after oil exploration began in the Niger Delta.

They want the government to empower its people through training, open up the economy of the region through adequate investment in infrastructure and cleaning up of oil spills that have affected their farmlands and waters among others.

President Buhari was also asked to pull the army out from the oil hub, order oil firms to move headquarters there and spend more on development to end militancy in the region.

King Diete-Spiff said: “The list also includes the withdrawal of the military in oil producing communities in the region. We don’t want the communities militarised”.

President Buhari had in May sent in army reinforcements to hunt down militants, a move that stoked anger, triggering more attacks on oil installations in the region, with a demand for more share of the oil revenue.

The meeting became necessary, after months of attacks on oil facilities, brought down crude oil output and dipped the nation’s revenue.

On his part the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, expressed joy that leaders in the region had come to put the demands forward, said that crude oil production in Nigeria had appreciated to 2.1 million barrels per day following the peace that was gradually returning to the region.

He has a responsibility to ensure that Nigeria meets its quota in the oil market and he observed that relative peace was necessary to achieve it.

The Niger Delta region has been described as the goose that lays the golden eggs.

But years of neglect have led to degradation of the region and subsequent administrations in Nigeria have done nothing about it.

Youths in the region have come in various colours of agitation, blowing up the pipelines, adding to the degradation of the region

But President Buhari’s administration may bring a turnaround to the region, if the agreement reached at the two-hour meeting of Tuesday would be implemented.

Also at the meeting were the Vice President, state governors, ministers, service chiefs and other well-meaning citizens from the Niger Delta.

Talks at the meeting also focused on how to end the constant destruction of facilities in the region.

Over six militant groups have sprang up in the Niger Delta region, the latest being the Niger Delta Avengers.

Reports from some of the groups indicate that they may not be part of the meeting called by the Federal Government, raising doubt as to full representation of all agitating splinter groups.

This is just one in the series of meetings the government has designed to bring a lasting peace to the Niger Delta region.

With the meeting and demands presented to the government, it is hoped that hostility in the region in form of attacks on oil installations would cease.

•Based on reports by Channels and Daily Trust. Photo courtesy of State House shows President Buhari interacting with Niger Delta leaders . . . today in Abuja.

Source News Express

Posted 01/11/2016 8:56:05 PM

 

 

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