RETURN NDDC TO THE PRESIDENCY, ANEEJ URGES FG
16th January, 2017
Abuja, Nigeria…The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, has welcomed the scheduled visit of the Vice President Mr Yemi Osinbajo to the Niger Delta, and has charged the Federal Government of Nigeria to return the NDDC to the presidency so that the negotiating instruments that will stimulate development, peace and goodwill in the region with be strengthened.
This call was made by ANEEJ executive director, the Rev David Ugolor, ahead of the official visit of Mr. Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, to key states in the Niger Delta.
‘ANEEJ believes that for lasting peace to take place in the Niger Delta, government must prioritize certain elements which promote peace and development. We decry a situation wherein government patronizes individuals in the region who benefit from the conflicts in the region for personal gain and leverage’, the Rev Ugolor said in a statement to journalists.
The Rev David Ugolor also said that it was not in the long-term interests of the Niger Delta for government officials to use official channels of communication to engage warlords and strong individuals in the region who in most cases make unreasonable demands on the institutions of state. He added that the real issues bedevilling the region are issues of mismanagement, corruption and the inability of the government to listen to the yearnings of the people. This makes it possible for the huge earnings which accrue to the region to be frittered away.
‘The Present administration will not be judged by the many deals it cut with warlords for temporary peace and development in the Niger Delta. What this administration will be judged by is how it helped to impact on the completion of the East-West Road, the development of our sea ports to boost trade, how it harnessed collective action to build vocations for the capacity building of farmers and fishermen, and how it helped with a blueprint for a post-oil Niger Delta. And the Federal government cannot do that on the assumption that the visit of the Vice President will be the silver bullet which will take away the problems of underdevelopment in the Niger Delta. It can do that by raising, rather than devaluing the bar on institutions like the NDDC, which it has relegated to the Ministry of the Niger Delta from the presidency’, Ugolor added.
He called on the chiefs, local interest groups in the Niger Delta to present a common front beyond individual interests. He said that these local interest groups should discourage pipeline vandalism as a tool for negotiation. ‘Most of the funds being injected in the massaging of the egos of the conflict entrepreneurs in the Niger Delta can be better utilized for the development of the region’, he said.
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