Leaders and stakeholders of the Niger Delta seemed divided, Wednesday, on the two-year Strategic Implementation Work Plan, SWIP, (2017-2019), a new road map for the transformation of the region.
The 85-page road map, awaiting the final approval by the Presidency contains 457 projects to be executed in the nine states of the region at a cost of over N2 trillion to be funded chiefly by the Federal Government and International Oil Companies (IOCs).
A former military governor of Akwa Ibom state, Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga and others accused government of hypocrisy.
Also, a coalition of militant groups, the Reformed Egbesu Fraternity (REF), comprising Egbesu Mightier Fraternity (EMF) Egbesu Red Water Lions (ERL) and the Egbesu Marine Commandos (EMC), yesterday, rejected the SWIP, arguing that it was done without consultation with the people.
But, the former national chairman of the Traditional Rulers of Oil Minerals Producing Communities of Nigeria, TROMPCON, Pere of Siembiri Kingdom, Delta State, His Majesty Charles Ayemi-Botu, former Provost Marshal of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Don Idada Ikponmwen,( retd), convener of the Niger Delta Peace Congress, NPDC, Chief Mike Loyibo and others, described it as a welcome development. Otuekong Nkanga, who spoke to said that the only way the Federal Government could demonstrate its sincerity towards the development of the Niger Delta region was by implementing the 16-point agenda presented to it by PANDEF, last year.
The ex-governor said there was nothing so special about two trillion naira the federal government and IOCs earmarked for execution of various projects from 2017-2019 in the nine states of the region when compared to the devastation of the region caused by oil exploration.