Stop Malabu oil scandal probe, Ijaw Youths tell FG, international allies •Allege persecution of Niger Deltans
Posted by News Express | 11 January 2017 | 1,632 times
IYC President Udengs Eradiri.
The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) on Tuesday advised the Federal Government and its international allies in the deal to halt the probe of the Malabu oil deal, describing it as part of persecution of the people of the Niger Delta.
Mr. Udengs Eradiri, IYC President, alleged that the probe of the Malabu oil block deal was a witch hunt targeted at Chief Dan Etette despite the fact that other oil blocs awarded under the same bid rounds were not being probed. It challenged the Federal Government to extend the probe to cover other oil blocks.
He also condemned the exclusion of the Niger Delta region from the recent award of oil lifting contracts, adding that the region should be allowed to participate in the oil and gas sector in the interest of equity and fair play.
Eradiri also challenged the government to evolve a strategy to stabilise the Niger Delta region to produce enough oil to fund the 2017 budget.
Eradiri, who spoke with journalists in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, noted that with delays in the Niger Delta peace process, chances of meeting the projected oil productions were slim.
He said that the Niger Delta dialogue with the Federal Government had suffered setbacks following the delays in raising a Federal Government team for the talks.
His words: “The Niger Delta region does not expect the present administration to solve the Niger Delta problems, which has lingered for over 50 years overnight, but over the years, successive administrations devised strategies to ensure oil output to run the country.
“From all indications, and despite the hue and cry about economic diversification, the 2017 budget is premised on oil output and we urge the government to provide a roadmap to achieving the benchmark on paper.
“The Obasanjo administration started coastal meetings, the late Musa Yar’Adua used the amnesty scheme to achieve stable oil production and Goodluck Jonathan consolidated the amnesty scheme that is winding up.
“We want the present administration to come up with a plan to ensure steady oil output in the short term while efforts are being made to address the developmental challenges of the people in the long run.”
Eradiri observed that the interventionist agencies set up to fast track development of the region were being deployed by previous governments for political patronages and settlement and pledged that IYC will closely follow developments in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
He challenged the Niger Delta governors to tow the line of their predecessors and drive the development of the region from the proceeds of the derivation funds adding that it was former governors of the region that did the groundwork for the amnesty programme.
He noted that the Niger Delta region was in dire need of economic policies to put the region on the track of development.