Niger Delta agitators insist on restructuring of Nigeria
•Allege marginalisation of region in COVID-19 interventions
•Give govt 14 days to meet demands
The General Assembly of the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators yesterday demanded the immediate restructuring of the country in a manner that ensures resource control by the component units.
In a statement yesterday in Abuja by General John Dukku, the freedom fighters alleged marginalisation of the oil-rich region in the distribution of the Federal Government’s COVID-19 palliatives.
They flayed the oil firms and owners of oil blocks in the area for making coronavirus donations directly to the government instead of channelling them directly to the welfare of their host communities
Decrying the pollution of most settlements in the area on account of oil exploratory activities, the coalition called on the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to urgently revoke licences of investors and re-issue same to those willing to alleviate the plight of the people.
It, therefore, gave the government two weeks to meet its demands.The group said: “For a region that contributes massively to the nation’s revenue profile, greater attention should have been paid to its people in the sharing of whatever palliatives the Federal Government had in mind. But it is not so. Rather, the amount of palliatives is not commensurate with the high levels of crude oil and revenue milked out of the region as well as the suffering of the people, poverty and devastation resulting from the operations of the oil companies in the region.”
On its anger with the authorities, the coalition stated: “The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is not helping matters. The regional body, now under the control of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, is (allegedly) being used to siphon funds earmarked for the development of the region into the pockets of a few greedy Nigerians.
“Since its creation, the NDDC has (allegedly) recorded its worst performance from 2015 till date under the APC (All Progressives Congress) administration.
“The commission has been characterised by issues of frivolous contracts and massive corruption.”The agitators challenged the NDDC’s Acting Managing Director to “also give details of who received what out of the N270 million purportedly released to Niger Delta youths as part of palliatives to cushion the effects of COVID-19 as declared by the commission.”
They added: “As far as the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators is concerned, no Niger Delta youth or ex-militant leader or group has received any money as palliative.
“To ensure the continued maintenance of peace in the Niger Delta region and the guarantee of judicious use of our hard-earned resources, we hereby demand for the immediate restructuring of the nation in a manner that will ensure resource control by the owners of these resources.
“Secondly, we demand for the immediate sacking of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and the Acting Managing Director/Board of the NDDC as a result of their direct involvement in (alleged) massive corruption and lack of proper accountability in the ministry and the commission, which have adversely impacted on the region thereby resulting in the high rate of poverty, joblessness and death of the citizens.”
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