Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) –
President Mohammadu Buhari may not be ready for a quick solution to the request presented to him by stakeholders from the Niger Delta, who on Tuesday presented a 16-point demand to him and requesting for an inclusive participation in the oil sector and ownership of oil blocs as well as fiscal federalism.
The stakeholders presented their demands at a meeting held with the president at the State House on Tuesday in Abuja but the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, said President Buhari told the Niger Delta leaders that he did not want a quick solution to their problems.
According to the minister, the president insisted that he must get to the roots of the crisis in the restive region before embarking on terms of their demands.
The demands include an urgent review of the amnesty programme to reappraise its core mandate to provide robust exit strategy; addressing pending law and justice issues regarding some aggrieved groups and individuals yet to be resolved;
a reversal of the deployment of military personnel into Niger Delta; prompt take-off of the Maritime University at Okerenkoko; and regional infrastructure.
Other demands are security surveillance and protection of oil and gas infrastructure; relocation of administrative and operational headquarters of international oil companies; a power plan to tie power supply in the region to gas supplies; economic development and empowerment; restructuring and funding of the Niger Delta Development Commission.
Their demands also include strengthening of the Niger Delta Ministry, a comprehensive resettlement plan including development for host communities and displaced populations to reduce the risk of making them into a stateless people arising from the ceding of Bakassi and fiscal federalism.
A stakeholder from the Niger Delta region, Edwin Clark, later told State House reporters that the meeting resolved that the stakeholders appoint a very capable team of experts to negotiate on their behalf.
“The meeting was arranged by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and we accepted it. It was when he approached that he had been discussing with the president about meeting him to discuss a way forward. We also accepted and agreed that we should meet.
“On the 19th of August, we met at the PTI, Warri. There is no doubt that many groups will spring up. One man will be in his room and say we are 20 and you’ll publish it. But we’ll continue to appeal to them. We have no other country but Nigeria. We cannot continue to destroy the assets of this country and at the same time destroying the ecosystem of our own region. So, we are appealing to the youth and they’re listening.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, said President Buhari told the Niger Delta leaders that he did not want a quick solution to their problems.
According to the minister, the president insisted that he must get to the roots of the crisis in the restive region.
“The president was very happy the meeting took place. He was very quick to point out that he did not want a quick solution, he needed to go to the roots of why this problem has persisted though all the various governments.
“So, he wants to dig into the root causes of where this is coming from and what the solutions are. He shared his own personal life experiences growing through the reign of militancy both in the northeast and here, and why it’s important to dig in and find lasting solutions.
“He was very happy and took pictures with everybody at the end of the day. Knowing him for who he is, he’s going to go back and sleep on all the things that have been said and begging to fashion solutions going forward,” Kachikwu stated.
Kachikwu also told journalists that as at today’s morning, oil production was 2.1 million per barrels, saying “That is substantial. That would not have happened without efforts that went behind through the royal fathers and leaders through the militant leaders.
“A lot of behind-the-scene engagements had taken place and will continue to take place. If you look at the big wins we set up last week, part of the expectations by 2017 is to target a zero shut as a result of result of militancy.”
Demand of Niger Delta as presented to PMB.
1. Ownership of oil blocs
2. Review of Amnesty Programme
3. Relocation of headquarters of IOCs to areas of operation
4. Approval of Maritime University
5. Strengthening Niger Delta Ministry
6.Revival of key critical infrastructure
7. Resettlement of Bakassi indigenes
8. Restructuring, funding of NDDC
9. Introduction of fiscal federalism
10. Economic development, empowerment of N-Delta people
11. Improved power supply
12. Security surveillance
13. Protection of oil, gas infrastructure
14. Meeting immediate needs of IDPs
15. Addressing effects of increased military presence in N-Delta
16. Ogoni clean-up; Environmental
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E.I.C: Albert Eruorhe Ograka