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Militants Blame Niger Delta Leaders For Woes

Akanimo Sampson,

Port Harcourt

Militants Blame Niger Delta Leaders For Woes

THE Joint Revolutionary Council (JRC), a coalition of some key insurgent groups including the Movement for Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), and the Reformed Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Foce, says the biggest challenge in the Niger Delta, Nigeria's main oil and gas region today is the failure of leadership.

Spokesperson of the group, Cynthia Whyte, in an on-line statement to our correspondent yesterday said, ''there is too much incompetence and corruption in the region and our people are suffering for it. Monies meant for the development of the Niger Delta is being stolen and shipped across the nooks and crannies of the world''.

According to them, ''there is need for a Marshall Plan in the Niger Delta in line with the thinking of the former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, and we request that Donald Duke be given to mandate to drive that plan''.

''If that happens'', they went on, ''then we will see that money will begin to flow into the Niger Delta. We will stop hearing complaints about non-release of NDDC funds because prosperity and success will always attract prosperity and success''.

Continuing, the militants argued, ''proper leadership in the Niger Delta will attract success. International partners will begin to flow into the region and take charge of key development challenges. How much of oil money did Donald Duke use to build Tinapa? We are dire need to focussed leadership. There is growing concern that the bad water in the Niger Delta may be the reason why some of our Niger Delta elites are so dumb. It calls for real concern''.

The JRC claimed that the appointment of Rilwanu Lukman as Petroleum Minister is a spite in the face of the people of the Niger Delta whose petroleum resources continue to oil the economy of the country.

''It however vindicates our claim that most politicians from the Niger Delta are failed and incompetent. They do not know their onions and lack the competency to deliver the goods. They remain stooges and rubberstamps on the chessboards of the now privileged northern oligarchies'', they said.

Continuing, they added, ''what we will see in the next few years is increased stealing of the resources of the people of the Niger Delta by northern cabals. The predating northern cabals will go for the kill, rock the till and have their fill. Mark my words. They will use our oil money to continue to prospect for oil in the desertlands of the North instead of using the money to develop the impoverished Niger Delta. They will acquire more marginal fields in our own backyards. They will award themselves oil lifting rights. They will award themselves the juiciest contracts in the highly lucrative oil and gas industry''.

The new petroleum minister according to the militants, ''is one of the owners of Afren Petroleum, an oil and gas exploration and production company which is currently producing about 20,000 barrels of oil per day leveraging the achievement of first oil milestone at their Okoro Setu fields and farm-in agreements for certain campaigns with ExxonMobil''.

Hitting hard on the leaders of the oil region, the militants said their core concern is the future of the Ijaw and Niger Delta territory, insisting, ''incompetent, visionless and corrupt leaders must be removed from the Niger Delta''.

President Yar 'Adua,. they said, ''will continue to hold back funds meant for the development of the Niger Delta as long as he knows that those responsible for managing these funds are very corrupt and evil. Derivations for the states will continue to be very low as long as those at the top know that the governors of the Niger Delta are actually rogues and bandit elements waiting to pounce on the largesse''.

Taking on the likes of Chief Edwin Clark, the armed youths said, ''they said Godsday Orubebe is the Minister of State. Before now, they said he was the President's houseboy on Niger Delta issues. Chief Clark and some others begged until he was made Minister of Special Duties. Yet the same Clark is complaining that Yar'Adua's government is not doing enough for the Niger Delta. Now read between the lines.

What we know is that the status quo in attention given to the Niger Delta must change''.


© Scoop Media

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