The Oil and Solid Mineral Producing Area Landlords’ Association of Nigeria (OMPALAN), has expressed concern over the deteriorating security situation in the country, particularly the oil producing areas. The association also applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the PIB into law.
It resolved: “We suggest that funds allocated in the bill to take care of the needs of host communities should be strategically implemented to carry all petroleum pollution impacted communities (particularly in the Niger Delta region) along.
“This is because the pollution is not restricted to a particular village or community, neither does it respect political or geographic boundaries.”
At its recent Board of Trustees (BoT) meeting, the association proffered far-reaching solutions on the way forward:
“We believe in the indivisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria as provided in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As Amended).
“We reaffirm our commitment to the peace and security of Nigeria and the need for peaceful co-existence of all Nigerians irrespective of ethnic and religious beliefs and affiliation as well as the right of Nigerians to live and carry on their businesses in any part of Nigeria without let or hindrances.”
In a statement later made available to Daily Sun, the association supported efforts and policies of the Federal Government “in tackling the problem of rising insecurity in Nigeria particularly as it concerns providing lasting solution to farmers/herders crisis in different parts of Nigeria.” The statement was signed by the association’s President/Chairman, BoT, Bishop Udo Azogu and Secretary, BoT/National Secretary, Prof Eyo Etim Nyong.
OMPALAN resolved that, “cattle ranches should be established in all states to avoid a situation where cattle will be roaming about the streets and or entering into people’s farmland to damage their crops. It is only when these ranches have been built that the ban on open grazing can be effectively implemented. The association believes open grazing cannot practically be outlawed without provision of alternative solutions such as establishment of ranches across the country.
“Governors and Minister of the FCT who collected N100billion from the Federal Government in 2014 as seed funding for purposes of building cattle ranches should proceed to build those ranches or refund the money at the prevailing interest rate to enable Federal Government acquire land to build those ranches. Most of the states that supported ranching in 2014 suddenly turned to oppose establishment of ranches. This is an act of sabotage.
“Federal Government should deduct from the monthly allocation of any state that collected the money to build ranches in 2014 but has either refused to build the ranches or refund the money to the Federal Government.
“The FG should save the local government system from the claws of governors and stop state electoral bodies from conducting LG elections.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should be empowered to conduct LG elections.
“A situation where the party controlling the state wins all the LG positions does not engender democracy, accountability and good governance. A functional local government system is key to tacking insecurity in Nigeria
“The control of the three institutions of governance at the state and local government levels by governors is a major cause of insecurity. The moribund LG system should be revitalized and made functional to engage the people at the grassroots.
“The Federal Government should consider and adopt the OMPALAN’s blue print on community policing to tackle insecurity. Majority of governors if given control of state police will use it to pursue personal vendetta against their opponents.
“OMPALAN appreciates President Muhammadu Buhari for in reconstituting the board of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and urges the president to inaugurate the new board to start work immediately. We are aware of top politicians sponsoring media campaign to twist the hand of the president into inaugurating the disbanded board. The president should disregard such move.
“OMPALAN shall set up liaison offices in the Diaspora to enhance the image of Nigeria and protect the nation’s political leaders from witch-hunt by aggrieved Nigerians abroad.
Others present at the meeting held in Abuja, on August 19, 2021 at were Justice Andrew Okon (rtd), Alhaji Mukhtar Abubakar, Ambassador Joseph Ezema, Maj-Gen Yakubu Usman (rtd), Chief Chibunna Ubawuike, Princess Ajibola, Senator Haruna Garba, Eze A.F.C Emetumah and Stanley Chukwu.