Leader of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) Edwin Clark has claimed that the President Muhammadu Buhari government is sidelining the Niger Delta region.
Clark made the allegations, weekend, where he called on “Buhari to without delay redirect a correction of the various imbalances of these very sensitive issues in the interest of equity, fairness and peace.
“We advocate strongly that there must be a deliberate review to involve qualified indigenes of the oil and gas host communities in top and middle level positions as well as in the allocation of oil blocks/marginal fields in the oil and gas industry to host communities.
“As a consequence of Federal Government’s casual and lethargic approach, which some perceived as lack of commitment and seriousness to the immediate resolution of the current Niger Delta crisis, the patience of the youths and other critical stakeholders in the region was waning.
“More worrisome is the way the Federal Government has conducted appointments to positions in the management of the nation’s oil and gas sector, which is operated in our backyard.”
According to him, “Nearly all the top and middle level positions in the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and its subsidiaries are manned mostly by northerners, rather than those from the areas. As it stands today, the oil producing communities of the Niger Delta are completely alienated.
“A ready case in point is the composition of the nine-member NNPC Board, which Mr. President constituted in 2016, where the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, who is chairman of the Board by virtue of his portfolio, and Dr. Thomas John, a former group managing director of NNPC from Cross River State, are the only members from the South-South. Six directors out of the nine, including the sitting Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, are from the Northern part of the country, which do not produce oil.
“To our utter dismay and rude shock, of the 55 top management staff of the NNPC made public in September 2017, only 19 are from the South, while over 36 are from the North, a non-oil producing zone. This was in the face of the protestations by the people of the Niger Delta over the obvious marginalization in the NNPC Board composition.”
He wondered if that depicts an equal Nigeria.”