Niger Delta militants caution government over non-appropriation for FUPRE
The Ijaw People’s Development Initiative (IPDI), a Niger Delta rights group, has cautioned the Federal Government over its failure to allocate funds for the Federal University of Petroleum Resources (FUPRE), Effurun, Delta State.
It said Federal Government’s continued failure not to compel Niger Delta militants to return to the creeks over its alleged refusal to appropriate resources for the full implementation of the Act establishing the university.
National President of the group, Austin Ozobo, in a statement, yesterday, said: “As critical stakeholders, we make bold to say that the Federal Government is pushing the Niger Delta region and its agitators back to the creeks, as starving the university of fund is provocative and capable of fanning the embers of discord.”
“We believe that FUPRE is starved financially because the university is positioned and located in the Niger Delta. This is a threat to the existing peace in the region.
“The Nigeria government should learn a lesson of how nepotism and injustice against the Niger Delta region could crumble the country’s economy and put it under unimaginable recession.”
It condemned the act and warned against the non-financial implementation of the FUPRE Act in the 2018 budget and deprivation of the institution of excess crude oil fund derived from increase in the oil benchmark.
It argued that FUPRE was established by the Federal Government to promote local human capacity training, development and research to advance the oil sector but it was grappling with underfunding and infrastructural deficit due to the failed ethnic agenda and plan to relocate the university to the North.
“In a bid to starve FUPRE of funds, the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) and National College of Petroleum, Kaduna, were established in the north and granted N15 billion and N10.4 billion respectively by the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) even at takeoff stage, but FUPRE that has graduated students and running for 11 years received no funding from PTDF,” the group added.
To show Federal Government’s bias towards the Niger Delta region and neglect of FUPRE, N45 Billion was captured in the 2018 budget for the North East Development Commission (NEDC), this is shocking because the NECD Act was accented a week after that of FUPRE Act but FUPRE Act got nothing in the 2018 budget.
Also, the House of Representatives in a motion: Implementation of Laws Enacted by the Eighth Assembly on December 21, 2017, mandated the House Committee on Appropriations to ensure adequate budgetary provisions be made in the 2018 Appropriation Bill for smooth takeoff of the university.
“Still the lawmakers and Federal Government shared over N152 Billion from increase in the oil benchmark without consideration for FUPRE Act, while all attempts made by stakeholders to the Federal Government and the National Assembly seem to have fallen on deaf ears.
“We thus, feel disturbed as this is a deliberate and outright neglect of the university and we are optimistic that the Federal Government has abandoned its responsibility for a Northern agenda.
“As Niger Delta and IPDI stakeholders, we demand that funds be made available for FUPRE from the excess funds realised with the increase of the oil prices as it rose from $45 per barrel to the current benchmark, yielding an excess of about N152 billion.
“However, the N152 billion has been disbursed for projects the government feel were more important than FUPRE, which was positioned in the Niger Delta area from where the funds were derived,” the statement added.
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