Niger Delta leaders make fresh demands to FG, seek resource control
Representatives from Niger Delta communities and groups has again stormed the Nigerian government with fresh demands to ensure peace in the region.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo received the demands on Tuesday on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari.
President Buhari is currently in Morocco attending the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22).
The Niger Delta people were led by Amanyanabo of Ton-Brass Bayelsa State, King Alfred Diete Spiff.
The Congress Secretary, Professor Benjamin Okaba, told the Vice President that the group had come to re-affirm the submissions made earlier and to prioritise their concerns.
Some of the demands presented to the Vice President include :
- political reconstruction and fiscal federalism
- management of resources by the constituents
- a derivation principle that should allow the different unit annex and control its resources and pay appropriate and agreed tax to the centre.
They are also asking for the demilitarisation of the Niger Delta region, building of peace and confidence, funding interventionist agencies and a guarantee of environmental and human right protection.
The meeting with the Niger Delta Peoples Congress came barely two weeks after traditional leaders and some other indigenes of the Niger Delta presented 16 prayers to the government.
These, 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 in Abuja.
Leaders of the group, the traditional ruler of Amanyanobo Kingdom, King Alfred Diete-Spiff and Mr Edwin Clark addressed reporters after the two-hour meeting.
They decried the lack of infrastructure, human resource, manpower and welfare of the people years after oil exploration began in the Niger Delta.
Part of their demands are that:
1. Government should empower its people through training,
2. It should open up the economy of the region through adequate investment in infrastructure and,
3. Government should clean-up oil spills that have affected their farmlands and waters, among others.
Militancy had resurged in the Niger Delta region in the second quarter of 2015, with militant groups seeking emancipation of the region and more control of the natural resources.
To push their demands, oil facilities have been attacked in the region forcing some companies to declare force majeure, with the nation’s crude oil output and power supply largely affected.
At a time the nation is struggling to rise above the drop in the price of crude oil that has affected its revenue, the activities of the militants dipped crude oil production.
The output dropped by over one million barrels per day, according to figures given by the Minister of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed.
Any solution to the militant attacks on oil facilities presented to the Nigerian government could go a long way in boosting crude oil output and revenue.
This is to enable the nation wriggle out of economic recession officially declared after the second quarter of 2016.
The nation’s Gross Domestic Product had contracted by 2.06%, according to a second quarter report of the National bureau of Statistics.