The Oasis Reporters
January 10, 2017
The Oil and Solid Minerals Producing Area Landlords’ Association of Nigeria, OMPALAN, has accused governors of oil-producing states of fuelling the crisis in the Niger Delta through constant interference in affairs of the communities.
It held that instead of fuelling crisis, government of oil producing states should focus on their primary constitutional responsibility of upholding the rule of law and deepening good governance by working in synergy with recognized organizations to achieve results.
This was disclosed by the Chairman, Board of Trustees, of OMPALAN, Mr. Udo Azogu, in Abuja after an interactive meeting of leaders of South-South and South-East regions, even as a militant group, NDRC, declared its plan to resume hostilities in the Niger Delta, claiming that the Muhammadu Buhari government is more clueless than that of Goodluck Jonathan.
Azogu said in a statement: “The situation where oil producing state governments encourage multiplicity of youth formations for egocentric reasons and meddle in oil company/host community relations that have been built and consolidated over the years, only help to deepen the crisis in the region.”
The OMPALAN Board Chairman pointed out that the restiveness gained ascendancy in oil producing areas with attendant heavy toll on life and property largely because of the ambivalent stance of the elite.
He noted that the elites felt militancy was purely a youth problem and allowed the situation to escalate, stressing that things fell apart when democratic institutions of governance that delivered good governance collapsed under the overbearing influence of the corrupt and subversive political class.
Azogu stated that oil producing state governments must aggressively defend the laws establishing oil-related palliative programmes such as the Oil Derivation Fund Commission, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Ecological Funds, Federal Government Amnesty Programmes, among others.
According to him: “The stark reality on ground is that there is not much to justify the existence of these robust programmes in vulnerable host communities which bear the brunt of stiffening environmental challenges. It is the shared belief in OMPALAN that there cannot be military solution to the problems of the region.
“We also support the view that no responsible government will fold it’s arms and watch the systematic destruction of the nation’s economic resources. It is in this regard that we appeal to our youths to sheathe the sword and support the rule of law so that we as elders of the regions can effectively provide the platform for a negotiated settlement.
“The association has developed a blueprint to the lingering crisis in oil producing regions. Our bottom-up proposal for durable peace in oil producing areas is designed to strengthen delivery chains of robust Federal Government palliative programmes to vulnerable host communities.
“It is also designed to shield the youths of oil producing areas from exploitation by aggrieved and subversive elements who stoke tension to settle political scores. Our proposal will also be extended to solid mineral producing areas.”
For the Niger Delta Revolutionary Crusaders, NDRC, its spokesperson, WOI Izon-Ebi, threatened in a statement issued on Monday that the militant group will begin fresh hostilities in the oil-rich region.
The statement reads, “After a keen observation of our ceasefire, declared on the 17th day of November, 2016, the Niger Delta Revolutionary Crusaders wants to resume attacks with a warning to the Nigerian government and the oil multinationals to be ready for the consequences of their oppressive and devilish politicization of the Niger Delta agitation and failure to utilize the precious intervention of our distinguished royal fathers and elders of PANDEF.”
Alleging that the Federal Government had turned the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to All Progressives Congress, APC, secretariat, the group warned that the Commission “will be the first casualty of the renewed hostilities in the region because what we have discovered is so outrageous and shameful”.
It claimed that its findings showed that N80 billion which was supposed to be used in developing the Niger Delta was used to prosecute the election of a former South-South governor, while N40 billion was also withdrawn from the NDDC coffers to prosecute the last re-run election in Rivers State.
The statement further read: “We want to sound it loud again to the Federal Government that we are fully in support of the Niger Delta Avengers’ Operation Wall of Jericho and Hurricane Joshua to knock all oil operations down in the country because enough-is-enough, our next line of action is not to warn the federal government again, because we have the capacity as the gods are with us.
“We are freedom fighters that respect our elders, leaders, and royal fathers. But we take our directives from the gods of the Niger Delta. Any planned humiliation of our elders, leaders, and royal fathers could give room to the gods to pour their blessing to all genuine agitators and freedom fighters to defend their motherland from external aggression that is being spearheaded by the Fulani caliphate of systematic cleansing and grabbing of territories.
“We have confidence in the convener/leader of PANDEF, former Federal Commissioner of Information, Chief Edwin Clark, former military governor of Old Rivers state, HRM King Alfred Diete Spiff, former governor of Akwa-Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah, both co-chairmen of PANDEF and other leaders of the group, contrary to the claim of the Presidency that the group lacked credible leaders.
“These are well respected leaders that control respect in the Niger Delta region. So, why is the Federal Government politicizing and trying to discredit these distinguished personalities of the Niger Delta for their sincere effort to appease the agitators and freedom fighters of the Niger Delta to give peace a chance and halt all hostilities.
“The Federal Government was never sincere, all they were looking for was just to buy time to enable them prepare, acquire sophisticated arms to commit genocide against the defenseless people of the Niger Delta. It has been revealed and every right thinking Nigerian is now aware that the Buhari -led administration is more clueless then the past administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.”
Speaking on the NDDC, the militant group stated that “The Federal Government has turned NDDC to APC secretariat, NDDC that was established by the past administration of Olusegun Obasanjo because of the sacrifice of the Niger Delta youths for the development of the region and the empowerment of the Niger Deltans, irrespective of their political affiliation, but it has come to our notice that instead of the NDDC to be responsible to its primary responsibility of developing the Niger Delta and empowering its people, it is now used as a political machinery of the APC to cause disunity among the Niger Delta youths and its people.”