Niger Delta youth leaders have urged the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to implement the palliatives pledged by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo during his tour to the region.
The youths made the call when the leadership of the Niger Delta Ex-Agitation Forum and Niger Delta Non Violent Youth Leaders’ Assembly paid a courtesy visit to Kennedy Tonjo-West in Yenagoa on Tuesday.
Tonjo-West is the Senior Special Assistant to Bayelsa State Governor on Niger Delta Youth Matters.
Prince Amaibi Horny, who spoke for the ex-agitators under the amnesty scheme, noted that the region was eagerly awaiting the implementation of promises made during the fact-finding visit by the acting president.
Horny observed that most of the palliatives aimed at stabilising the Niger Delta region and consolidating the peace process lied within the purview of the NNPC.
According to him, after several months of conclusion of the tour, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Maikente Baru was yet to take steps on the palliative measures.
“It is shocking to know that since Maikanti Baru assumed office as NNPC Group Managing Director, he has not initiated or implemented any project or programme that will deepen the existing peace painstakingly put in place by the president.
“The current peace is due to extensive consultative engagement by the acting president’s dialogue with stakeholders during his tour of the region.
“Instead of commencing some of the projects and issues raised by youths and people of the region in this period of peace to upgrade his score card, the GMD feels very unconcern about the plight of the region,” Horny said.
Tonye Jeminimiema, who spoke for Niger Delta Non Violent Youth Leaders’ Assembly noted that Dr Ibe Kachikwu had traversed the region promising that President Buhari administration was committed to developing the Niger Delta.
Jeminimiema urged the acting president to prevail on NNPC to step up its activities to redeem Federal Government’s pledge to the region during his tour which includes the establishment of modular refineries.
He said that it was evident that the peace deal had resulted in the increase of crude output from 1.2 million barrels to two million barrels after the peace deal but regretted that the NNPC was yet to fulfil its part of the accord.
In his response, Tonjo-West appeal to the youths in the region exercise patience, adding that plans were ongoing to open a window for discuss with the stakeholders.
According to him, Chief of Defence Staff, National Assembly, Minister of State, Petroleum and the Group Managing Director of NNPC and himself will look at the issues objectively and iron out the grey areas.
“My fear is that if the government pays deaf ear to these complaints, crisis is inevitable and one can imagine where that will lead us to, especially when the country is passing through a difficult phase in its nationhood,” he said.
Tonjo-West commended the Bayelsa governor for the establishment of the state vigilante group and the Bayelsa state volunteers to strengthen security in the state.
He also applauded the Rivers state government for empowerment of Youths Based Land and Waterway Surveillance to boost security in the state.
He also commended security agencies in the region for their dogged approach to curbing crime.
He observed that there was the need for the Federal Government to team up with governors in Niger Delta states for the development of the region.