The premier coalition of civil society in the Niger Delta region, United Niger Delta Energy Development Security Strategy (UNDEDSS) has demanded that President Mohammadu Buhari-led government should administer the country on the basis of equity, justice, and fairness or lose the moral right to demand full consent of all groups to its leadership status.
The group said it had earlier appealed to the President to ensure that his administration lives up to its promises and responsibilities by ensuring that the Niger Delta region is no longer short-changed as done presently but that nothing has been done to address the injustice aside “careless politicking on issues concerning the region”.
UNDEDSS said “the Niger Delta region is totally disappointed with the FGN’s style of governance that is brazenly nepotistic, and which denies all Nigerian citizens who do not belong to the President’s ethnic group the right to justice and a level playing field, both in terms of appointments/employment and punishment/rule of law!. Enough is enough”.
UNDEDSS made the demand in a statement signed by comrade Tony I Uranta, (Secretary-General), released late Sunday 9th August 2020, following what it termed an “online meeting between our (UNDEDSS’s) Executive and the ‘creeks’.”
It said the group is in support of the on-going anti-corruption battle in the Niger-Delta but that” all issues must transparent rather than attempts to criminalize the region”
The statement which listed the position of the region on some critical issues read in part “we have noted with dismay what is unfolding concerning the region. what Niger Delta citizens are all terming the calculated attempts to single out the region for putative anti-corruption actions that fill the news spaces, and distract all Nigerians from the absolutely mind-boggling acts of corruption that are evident in reported Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the FGN, especially with reference to the sleaze in the NNPC (such as selling off over $250million of Nigeria’s oil via China by individuals within the Presidency).
“The over N2 trillion badly accounted for by Saddiya Farouq the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs; the over N100billion corruption issues of the North East Development Commission NEDC; the uncleared petitions against Ibrahim Magu and the EFCC, against Abubakar Malami the AGF, against CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele and the estate of the late Isa Funtua, or against the VP/FIRS among others.
“The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) spent about $42 billion (N15.21trn) on fuel importation between 2013 and 2018. This amount is capable of building about 14 refineries with average capacities of 100,000 barrels of crude oil per day at an estimated cost of $3 billion if well managed, or three of the type of Dangote Refinery, which is 650,000 barrels per day! These should be the priority focus areas of the FGN now.
“UNDEDSS supports the FGN’s anti-corruption war even in the Niger Delta, but knows that certain individuals are attempting to over-focus a media war against the NDDC in an attempt to obfuscate the crazily greater evidence of corruption, mostly ongoing and even by members of the Presidency”
On the ongoing confusion between the NDDC and the National Assembly, UNDEDSS expressed dissatisfaction, claiming that the “ FGN owes the Niger Delta over N3trillion in unmet statutorily mandatory payments by the FGN to the region via the NDDC, and we are demanding that the FGN immediately releases the N20billion approved by President Buhari for work by Julius Berger Plc. for the vital overdue East-West Road; whilst the unfettered carrying out of the Forensic Audit ordered by Mr. President by the current IMC be continued, allowing the IMC itself to be audited likewise at the end of its tenure in December 2020 as constituted.
The statement noted further“Nobody says don’t audit everyone; what we are opposed to is the glaring bid to deploy a NASS/media war against the region so as to distract Nigerians from the bigger thieves in the system, including the NASS looters who are now being exposed regularly as clogs in the path of national development, due to their greed and sleaze!”
UNDEDSS ended its statement by warning the FGN of the dangers of continued marginalisation and disregard for the Niger Delta and its leaders, “because new dangerous agitation is building up in the region, and how the FGN deals with us strategically going forward may make a big difference in outcomes.”
Quoting the United States of America’s recent warnings to the FGN, UNDEDSS noted that “We are concerned with reports of the deteriorating political climate in Edo State and are disappointed with the role played by some political actors in the state. We are especially concerned with allegations of interference by security forces in political matters, which we will continue to monitor closely in the run-up to gubernatorial elections in the state in September.”
The group finally tasked Buhari to urgently reach out (not through any representative but his person) to the constituted leadership of the Niger Delta, led by Sen. Edwin K. Clark, to ameliorate the many anomalies that threaten peace and stability in the region. We need no more sabre rattling”.