To Save Nigeria From Disintegration, Restructure The Country Now – Afenifere Tells Buhari

Chief Ayo Adebanjo

 

The pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to save the country from disintegration by heeding calls for restructuring.

According to the group, this is the only solution that could halt any form of disintegration of the country.

The acting National Leader of the group, Ayo Adebanjo, made the call on Friday, after a meeting held at his country home in Ogbo Ijebu, Odogbolu Local Government Area of Ogun State.

READ ALSO: Removing History From School Curriculum Is An Evil Agenda, Says Ortom

He also advised President Buhari to bury the idea of general elections come 2023 without the necessary restructuring of the country to the path of federalism

“I urged President Muhammadu Buhari to bury the idea of holding an election before returning to federalism by restructuring the country now.

“There must be a country before elections are held; it would be patriotic of him to heed this advice. If Buhari is sincere about keeping the country together, he must restructure the country now; this is the only answer to halt the disintegration of the country. To save Nigeria, restructure the country now,” Adebanjo said.

He added that the consistent advocacy for the restructuring of the country to federalism is based on the founding philosophy of Afenifere.

Adebanjo appreciated other groups such as PANDEF, The Northern Elders Forum, Arewa Consultative Forum, and Middle Belt Forum for joining in the restructuring crusade for a greater and better Nigeria

He also hailed the Southern Governors Forum for joining the calls for restructuring.

PANDEF Rejects Cattle Colony, Asks Avengers To Embrace Peace

PANDEF Rejects Cattle Colony, Asks Avengers To Embrace Peace
File photo: Edwin Clark

 

The Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has rejected the proposed setting up of cattle colony in various states by the Federal Government.

PANDEF, after an emergency general assembly which held on Thursday in Delta State, told the government that people of the Niger Delta have no land for such purpose.

The meeting was chaired by the national leader of the group and elder statesman, Edwin Clarke, and attended by leaders of the forum from the six states in the region – comprising of traditional rulers, political leaders, academics and activists among others.

Issues bordered on the state of the nation and the current happenings in the Niger Delta, with reference to the threat earlier issued by the Niger Delta Avengers on their plan to resume hostilities.

They, however, urged the people of the region, especially the youths to continue to exercise patience even in the face of the recent clash between herdsmen and farmers.

After hours of exhaustive deliberations, the assembly, in a communique, condoled with the people of Benue State and others whose communities have suffered killings by suspected herdsmen.

“We reject the idea of setting up cattle colonies around the country and advise the Federal Government to handle this sensitive matter with tact and treat the issue of animal husbandry as a commercial transaction which should be left in the hands of relevant stakeholders,” the statement said.

The communique also highlighted the call for restructuring, the use of the 13% derivative to states in the region, as well as concerns for the pace with which the government handles matters pertaining to the region.

“The slow pace at which the Federal Government continues to handle matters pertaining to the Niger Delta, especially the implementation of the 16-point agenda submitted since the 1st of November, 2016.

“(The group) condemned, in particular, the continued refusal of international and national oil companies to show presence in the Niger Delta, including moving their operational and administrative offices to the region.

“We call on Niger Delta political leaders and leadership of intervention agencies such as NDDC and Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to show greater accountability in managing resources allocated for various programmes,” the statement added.

10 Modular Refineries At Advanced Stage Of Development – Osinbajo

 

Ten modular refineries are at advanced stages of development in the Niger Delta, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said.

He said this on Saturday in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Laolu Akande.

The 10 modular refineries are located in five out of the nine states in the Niger Delta region; namely Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Delta, Edo and Imo states.

According to Osinbajo, two out of the 10 – Amakpe Refinery (Akwa Ibom), and OPAC Refinery (Delta State) – have their mini-refineries modules already fabricated, assembled and containerized overseas, ready for shipment to Nigeria for installation.

The total proposed refining capacities of the 10 licensed refineries stands at 300,000 barrels.

Advanced stage of development for the modular refineries means that the projects have passed the Licence to Establish (LTE) stage, while some have the Authority to Construct (ATC) licence or close to having it because they have met some critical requirements in the Licensed stage.

There are three stages in the process of refinery establishment; Licence to Establish (LTE), Authority to Construct (ATC) and Licence to Operate (LTO).

The Vice President believes the modular refinery initiative which featured prominently in recent talks between the Federal Government and the oil-producing areas, as represented by PANDEF, will also reposition the petroleum industry and ensure self-sufficiency of petroleum products while serving as a disincentive for illegal refineries and oil pollution.

According to him, the Buhari administration is committed to promoting the establishment of privately financed modular refineries so as to increase local refining capacity, create jobs, ensure peace and stability in the Niger Delta.

The statement explained that at an end-of-the-year review meeting of the Niger Delta Inter-Ministerial Committee at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, before the holidays, Professor Osinbajo noted that the Federal Government, in line with its Niger Delta New Vision, is targeting measurable objectives in its efforts towards implementing development projects in the region.

It added that the December 22 meeting received a report that 38 licensed privately financed greenfield and mini-modular refineries investors have so far indicated interests in the establishment of refineries in the region and at least ten (10) of the licensed refineries investors are at an advanced stage of development.

Noting the issue of funding as a major challenge to most of the investors, and the primary reason holding further progress of the refinery projects, the Vice President directed the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources to keep providing the necessary support and creating the enabling environment for positive investments in modular refineries by engaging key government agencies.

The agencies include the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board, NCDMB, and financial institutions, including the International Finance Corporation, African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, Bank of Industry, amongst others.

The Vice President also stressed the importance of ensuring that the oil communities have a stake in the modular refineries and directed that an appropriate model should be developed to achieve that.

Ogoni cleanup, Maritime University update

Other issues addressed at the end of the year meeting include the Maritime University, Ogoni Clean-up, and other related issues such as increasing support for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the region.

On the Maritime University take-off, the Vice President noted that further support would be given by the Federal Government to ensure the training of staff to give the best to the incoming students of the institution.

On the Ogoni clean-up, the Project Coordinator for the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, (HYPREP), Dr. Marvin Dekil briefed the meeting that progress has been made in several areas of the clean-up.

He listed the evaluation of existing water facilities in the four local government areas in Ogoni land in the process of providing clean drinking water, demonstration of remediation technologies at sites in some of the impacted communities; hiring of and the technical training of Ogoni scientists. The Coordinator added that health impact assessment would be conducted in some communities in the coming weeks.

At the meeting were the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Unguru Usani; Minister of Education, Alhaji Adamu Adamu; Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu and the Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jubril.

Others include the Director-General of Nigeria Maritime Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside; Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Corporation, Mr. Nsima Ekere; and the Special Adviser to the President on the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brig-General Paul Boroh (rtd).

Ijaw Leader Says PANDEF Not Fit to Dialogue With Buhari

Muhammadu Buhari, New Year, Unity, NigeriaAn Ijaw leader, Chief Wilfred Ogbotobo, says members of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) lack the authority to discuss with President Muhammadu Buhari on the development of the Niger Delta.

Ogbotobo, who spoke in Yenagoa, said that the group is made of people who had opportunities to develop the region, but instead built empires for themselves and their children with public funds.

He alleged that PANDEF members are politicians masquerading as Niger Delta leaders.

“There is no need for further dialogue on the same issues relating to the development and well-being of the same Niger Delta. We have had enough of the same characters, dialogues, blueprints and roadmaps on this same Niger Delta.

“These individuals and groups should, in their own interest, spare President Buhari the distractions of their unproductive and time-wasting dialogues, as he cannot afford to fail in the challenges confronting critical sectors of the nation.

“Hence, we welcome and praise President Buhari’s timely recognition of this snare, and his boldness in providing a significant budgetary allocation to fight crime and stop a breakdown of law and order in the region.

He continued by saying “this is the hallmark of a disciplined, responsible leadership”.

According to him, the President is conversant with the developmental challenges of the Niger Delta and should dialogue with “local rocket scientists” to implement his plans for the region.

He said the President has demonstrated his readiness to develop the Niger Delta, alleging that leaders of PANDEF are politicians who had earlier threatened fire and brimstone against Buhari during the campaign.

“Their political profiles will reveal how many opportunities they have had in the course of their political development, to better the region, but which they squandered on selfishness and frivolity.

“We, therefore, urge the public to be more discerning and not to be deceived by these barefaced lies and hypocritical shenanigans of individuals and groups whose activities are akin to a set of spent clowns on a time worn circus.

“These antecedents and antics are no longer fashionable and are out of tune with the present enlightenment and realities in the Niger Delta,” Ogbotobo said.

“President Buhari needs no further schooling or dialogue on the economic value and social importance of the Brass Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project and a modern seaport in Bayelsa State; as well as his knowledge of the strategic value of the Maritime University to the people.

“We urge the Federal Government to be focused and committed to the delivery of the dividends of democracy to the Niger Delta”.

He advised the President to go deeper, beyond to collaborate with the people, identify and groom a fresh breed of committed, young leaders who should be empowered to provide robust leadership for the salvation and survival of Niger Delta.

South-South Governors Reprimanded By Edwin Clark

edwin_clarkeGovernors of States in Nigeria’s South-South region were over the weekend reprimanded by the leader of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Mr Edwin Clark.

He said that the time had come for the people to hold the governors accountable for underdevelopment of the region, mismanagement of funds and acts of intimidation.

Speaking at the third General Assembly of PANDEF, Mr Clark, who berated some of the governors for spending the 13 per cent derivation funds as if they were not accountable to the people, said the behaviour of the governors was unacceptable to the people.

He alleged that some of them were intimidating citizens in their states, citing a case in Bayelsa State, where he said he had to intervene after the then governor arrested some persons, including a woman and her little baby.

The elder statesman said: “Another worrisome issue is the manner the six governors of the oil producing states are spending the 13% derivation funds under Section 162 (95) of the 1919 Constitution, without adequate regard to the oil producing communities, nor are they accountable to anyone.

“Out of the six oil producing states, only three have constituted a commission or body to manage the funds. They are Delta, Edo and Ondo.

“I understand that 50 per cent of the amount paid by the Federal Government is released to these commissions, while the remaining 50 per cent is retained by the governors for their own expenditure at will. This money is also not budgeted for in the state coffers.

“Unfortunately, the governments of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Rivers in particular, have refused to set up such commissions to manage the 13 per cent derivation monies collected under the guise that every local government in the states produces oil and gas. This reason is unacceptable.

“We will no longer accept a situation where governors will intimidate and harass people who they swore to protect and care for.

“They behave as if all is well in the region. It is not enough for them to be present during our visit to Mr. President because they had no discussions with us before the visit”.

He recalled that about 18 oil producing communities along the Atlantic Ocean, spread across two oil producing states, producing about 63 barrels of oil a day, petitioned the Federal Government in 2013 over their abandonment by the affected governors, threatening to shut down the flow stations in their areas.