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Buhari vows to deal with sabotage in Niger Delta

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[FILE] Aerial view of Niger Delta

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday declared that his administration was prepared to respond to any acts of hostility and sabotage of the nation’s oil assets in the Niger Delta.

He nevertheless acknowledged decline in pipeline vandalism in the region, saying government would continue to engage the communities with a view to promoting peace.

Buhari spoke after he received the ‘Grand Comrade’ award conferred on him by a delegation of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), led by its president, William Akporeha, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The exercise was part of activities marking the union’s 40th anniversary.

“On security in the Niger Delta, I am sure you will all agree that pipeline vandalism has declined. We have and will continue to promote peaceful engagement with the communities while at the same time maintain our readiness to respond to any hostile acts of sabotage,” Buhari said.

He noted that reforms in the petroleum sector “must not be rushed, if we must get it right. We are still suffering from the effects of many legacy policies that were rushed and passed without fully appreciating the consequences of the provisions embedded in them.”

According to him, “whatever decision we take now will impact either negatively or positively on generations to come. The Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) was conceived to ensure Nigeria’s future generations are positively impacted by its oil wealth. It was never about short-term gains. I want to assure you that dialogue on the bill is still ongoing. At the end, we will have a piece of legislation the nation will be proud of.”

Akporeha commended the president for his anti-corruption strides as well as social and infrastructure initiatives.

He regretted the non-implementation of the president’s Executive Order on local content.

But a programme sponsored by the United Kingdom Agency for International Department (UKAID) is seeking to ensure that government’s anti-corruption gains were not frittered away in fresh episode of fraud.

Consequently, it has begun monitoring how the current administration is spending the recovered $322.5 million loot of former Head of State, the late General Sani Abacha.

The Executive Director of Africa Network For Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), Rev. David Ugolor, gave the indication yesterday in Abuja.

He told reporters that 504 field monitors, 11 supervisors and 22 deputy supervisors drawn from the Nigerian Network on Stolen Assets (NNSA) and other civil society organisations had been deployed for the exercise.


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