The Sun News

Peoples’ parliament: Re: FG/Niger Delta dialogue

This is the big difference! Before Goodluck Jonathan became president, his people in the Niger Delta had been traumatized and had died by reason of an environment that had been disregarded and polluted by oil spills. As if that was not enough, a United Nations Environment Report (UNEP) report on which he could have relied to turn around the fortunes of his region was there, yet he did nothing! What a Goodluck? On the other hand, a humane and people-oriented President Muhammadu Buhari comes to power, sees the suffering of his people in the Northeast, quickly brings the carnage to an end! Today, he has put a motion in process to rebuild the Northeast! To eradicate the ill fortunes of his people! Strange enough, the former is a PhD holder and the latter is an illiterate! Wouldn’t I rather have an illiterate for president? Uzoma Chilaka

Ralph, Niger Delta is recognized as a geographical zone in Nigeria; hence its recognition by the central government and invitation for negotiation over problems of insurgency there. It is unfair of anyone to condemn limitation of the negotiating team to the people of that zone. Southeast oil producing areas did not join the Niger Delta Avengers’ struggle which form the basis for the reconciliation efforts in the first place. The issue of amnesty programme should not be terminal as long as its causes are yet to be fully eliminated. Recently, I read a report that 30 per cent of value added tax collected on behalf of the Federal Government is reserved for the rehabilitation of internally displaced persons in the Northeast. Why do Buhari and the APC government engage in divisive tribal distribution of largesse to citizens of Nigeria, country touted as united? This nonsense has to stop before it breaks us apart. Imagine northernization of federal appointments in spite of federal character principle. Kilode… Lai Ashadele – 07067677806

I read your above piece in the Sunday Sun of November 6, 2016 and I agree you’re your assertion inter-alia “Niger Delta deserves a city like Abuja and Lagos, their road network ought to be better than what we see abroad, the youth should have easy guarantee of qualitative training, what should happen to Niger Delta region should be more than the tokenism of patching one road while the other stretch is terribly bad, or building a school block amid others that are dilapidated. It is time we know that a society that has wealth should be deserving of its benefits; we don’t need to task the imagination to know this. Until there is a good reward system in this nation, peace would remain elusive.” This is true to the extent that the country is blessed enough to replicate Abuja status in the six geo-political zones. The implementation of this idea begins the day the regions start holding their regional leaders accountable for their deeds or misdeeds. When a regional leader suddenly develops the capacity to float a private university and the required development is not seen in his area or on his people, it is only proper to hold him responsible instead of the national leader. Maybe that’s why the Niger Delta agitators reacted to the demands from their leaders. Agono Duke – 08035475402

Ralph, I want to thank you for your piece on the FG/Niger Delta dialogue. In the write up, you raised very important questions about the development of Niger Delta region. The issue of which area constitutes the Niger Delta region has been and would remain a very contentious one for a very long time to come. What those from the area should know is that wether it is the Igbo areas or the coastal areas, both axes are linked together, whatever good comes to one of them, the effect of it would spread across the whole area. So what should be paramount is for development to be given to the people who harbor crude oil for which our nation is a wealthy nation. It is not good to starve the golden hen else it loses the capacity to be productive. When the people of the Niger Delta are denied their natural rights, anger and tension would be high and the atmosphere needed for the exploration of the oil may be non-existent. It is on this note I support your call for a Marshal Plan for the development of the Niger Delta region by the federal government. Ralph, you are perfectly correct in your observation that pipeline protection contracts, oil well ownership and ad hoc bodies like Niger Delta Development Commission and Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs are not the solutions; the remedy should be in the resolve of the federal government to bring development to the area and when they do, they know what to do. Federal government did not need commissions or ad hoc bodies to develop Abuja; I would advise the same system be applied to the development of Niger Delta. It is not that the nation is not agreed on the need to develop the region, it is just a case of which president would be serious with the task. President Buhari has given indication that he would develop the area, but instead of going on with that, he is giving the people ‘Operation Crocodile Smiles’. It took him too long to understand the usefulness of dialogue and yet, the one he initiated seems stalled. Under him, the federal government is using the oil money to explore for oil in the desert. I am still wondering how much would be left to bring development to the region that produces the money for the nation to thrive. How many of us know the objective behind privatization of the business aspects of oil sector? I hope private individuals would not turn our nation into their private estate. It is curious the Yoruba are not talking and Igbo have enough troubles on their hands to be concerned about any other region, really I don’t know where we are heading to! Militarization of Niger Delta region would not help the situation, what would bring peace is dialogue and immediate action on the core problems of the region. Thank you. Davidson Tariah – [email protected]

Ralph, good work. I want to say that heaven would help those who are determined to help themselves. I blame politicians and traditional rulers from the oil producing communities for the marginalization being meted out to them. I am aware that when the federal government asks states to nominate representatives from the oil producing community on issues relating to the development of the area, the governors and other stakeholders nominate their cronies who they know have no principles. They give such nominees conditions, one of which is ‘they must give contracts to fake contractors’, this way money meant for development is easily siphoned into private pockets. The big question is what happened to derivation funds? How many oil producing areas felt the impact of the funds? Nigerians should be aware by now that Sure-P was a big scam, the governors collected the money and just pocketed it. If I were Buhari, I would probe what the state did with derivation and Sure-P funds.
Dr. Onwkwe Kanu – [email protected]   

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