• Sunday, June 16, 2024
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BusinessDay

Ex-rector urges Niger Delta people to seek accountability from their leaders

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 The people of the Niger Delta have been urged to begin to ask their leaders to account for the huge allocations to the region, over the years.
The former rector of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, Akwa Ibom State, Nseyen Ebong, who gave the advice also appealed to the Federal Government to negotiate with Niger Delta Avengers with a view to ending attacks on oil installations in the South South region of the country.
Speaking in an interview in his office in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, Ebong said the people should learn to demand for accountability and transparency on how funds allocated to states in the region are being utilised.
“We should ask our leaders to account for what they have collected from the federation account,’’ he said.
The former rector also said that negotiating with the militants has become the best option in ending the current crisis in the region.
“I would like to appeal to the Federal Government to dialogue with them (NDA), it is the best option that will ensure the return of peace to the region,’’ he said.
In an interview with BDSUNDAY, Ebong, who is the immediate past rector of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, however, appealed to members of the NDA to reconsider their strategy as their alleged attack on oil installations was “aggravating the suffering of the people” in the area.
The region has witnessed a resurgence of militant activities recently with reports of oil facilities being attacked and oil companies in the region shutting down operations.
Meanwhile, key stakeholders have identified the decision of the Federal Government to drop plans to continue with the proposed maritime university in the region in which a budget has been allocated for the development of institution as one of the reasons for the upsurge of militant activities in the region.
However, other stakeholders who spoke on condition of anonymity said the fight against corruption currently being waged by the Federal Government appears to be one-sided only targeting people from a section of the country.
Speaking in the same vein, Patrick Elder, chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Akwa Ibom State council said while citizens should demand accountability from elected leaders on the use of funds accruing to the region, the Federal Government should ensure that oil block allocation is fair to all a sections of the country.
Albert also suggested that the Petroleum Industry Bill which has been in the national assembly for years should be revisited to give a sense of belonging to the region adding that employment of indigenes of the Niger Delta region should be given priority by the oil companies to stem the rising tide of agitation while issues of underdevelopment of the region should be addressed by the Federal Government.
ANIEFIOK UDONQUAK