Ben Dunno, Warri
Foremost Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, has urged the Federal Government to show more commitments to the agreements reached at a peace parley with the Niger Delta elders in order to forestall renewed hostilities in the region.
Addressing newsmen at his Kiagbodo country home in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State at the weekend, Clark who is the National Leader of Pan Niger Delta Elders Forum (PANDEF) expressed fears of a possible collapse of the peace accord they reached with the government if the later continues with its present attitude.
He disclosed that it was based on the outcome of the peace parley held in Abuja on November 1, 2016, between the government and the elders of the region that brought about the peace enjoyed today that has led to a remarkable improvement in the government’s revenues from the oil sector.
He, therefore, urged the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency commence the implementation of the 16-point agenda presented to it by PANDEF as the representatives of the people from the region as a way of reciprocating their efforts.
He noted that besides the planned take off of the Maritime University in Gbaramatu, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State, the Federal Government has deliberately continued to show lack of commitments to the rest of the demands put forward by the elders of the region.
“It is on record that our intervention in the direction of peace and security has continued to help the national economy and contributed substantially to the exit out of recession. From a drop in the oil production to 800,000 barrels per day in 2016, today the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is producing over 2.3 million barrels a day.
“It was the NNPC that also announced just four days ago that its gas supply to the power sector is now 88/89 per cent higher, following a near total stoppage of vandalism of pipelines. This has substantially boosted power supply to the entire country.
“Also according to the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, our efforts have helped to shore up the external reserves from N30 billion in 2016 to nearly N50 billion at present. So the question is, how has this been reciprocated in terms of impact on the Niger Delta region and the people?” he queried.
While urging President Muhammadu Buhari to give conscientious consideration to their contributions and act accordingly on the request they have made towards the sustainable peace in the region, he warned of an imminent collapse of peace if the Federal Government continued to be insensitive to the demands of the region.
“If we fail to provide rational and realistic intervention, we leave room for decadents to further devise trajectories for unorthodox altercations”, Chief Clark warned.
Some of the demands in the 16-point agenda include; the relocation of the headquarters of the multi national oil companies back to the region, Infrastructural development, licensing for the building of modular refineries.
Others are allocation of oil blocks to the indigenes, the Ogini clean up, addressing the Bakassi indigene’s welfare, adherence to local content act and creation of jobs for the teeming abled-bodied youths, among others.