Niger Delta Leaders through the Pan Niger Delta Group lamented the underdevelopment of the area. They attributed the renewed militancy in the region to alienation and lack of meaningful development of the region.
This was disclosed at a meeting of the stakeholders before the meeting with President Buhari.
They also came up with 16 points that could help the Federal Government achieve its “quick wins initiative.”
The meeting held behind closed doors had five state governors, traditional rulers and other stakeholders from the region in attendance.
Niger Delta Leaders Make Demands
The Pan Niger Delta Forum has made its requests to the Federal government as part of moves to end militancy in the region.
Amanyanabo of Twon Brass Bayelsa State, King Alfred Diete-Spiff, presented the requests to the President at a meeting yesterday.
We Want Oil Blocs, Community Pipeline Contracts
According to the 10-page document, the group called for their inclusion in oil industry and ownership of oil blocs. Also, they asked for Host Community Content within the Nigerian Content framework across the entire petroleum and maritime sectors.
“The sense of alienation of Niger Delta indigenes from the resources of their land will continue until there are affirmative actions that guarantee the involvement of these communities in the ownership and participation in the oil and gas industry.
“We therefore urge the Federal Government to enunciate policies and actions that will address the lack of participation as well as imbalance in the ownership of oil and gas assets.”
“Pipeline vandalism also damages the environment, health and economic activity of inhabitants of affected areas. As well as complicates environmental cleanup efforts.”
“It is therefore our view that an urgent review be done to pipeline surveillance contracts to give the responsibility to communities rather than individuals in a manner that ties some benefits to their responsibility.”
“Communities would then see their responsibility over the pipelines as protection of what belongs to them.”
They also called for the relocation of administrative and operational headquarters of International Oil Companies to the region.
Demilitarisation, Bakassi And Green Tree Agreeement
The stakeholders also called for the reduced military presence in the region. Military presence has continued to escalate tension and insecurity in the region.
Furthermore, the group said the ceding of Bakassi to Cameroon continues to threaten security in parts of the region. They said the unresolved issues arising from the Green Tree Agreement continued to create tension and plaque the region.
The stakeholders also want a well-coordinated transparent blueprint for the development and resettlement of the displaced populations.
“Host communities face huge abuses and are unable to re-establish their respective means of livelihood. We therefore recommend a comprehensive resettlement plan. This will include development for the host communities and displaced populations to reduce the risk of making them into a stateless people”
Speed Up Ogoni Clean Up
The group also commended the president for initiating the UNEP report recommending the clean-up of Ogoniland. However, they urged the Federal Government to speed up the exercise.
They stressed the urgent need to restructure and increase the funding of the Niger Delta Development Commission. This, in order to refocus it as a truly intervention agency. In the same vein, they called for adequate funding and strengthening of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
The stakeholders also made its request on fiscal federalism
“The clamour for fiscal federalism has continued to be re-echoed by different sections of the country. People of Niger Delta region support this call and urge that the Federal Government should regard this matter expeditiously.”