• Tuesday, June 25, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Former deputy governor urges FG to address Niger Delta crisis

Christopher Ekpenyong, former deputy governor of Akwa Ibom State,

 The Federal Government has been warned against using ‘strong arm tactics’ in resolving the current upsurge of violence in the oil producing Niger Delta region of the country.

 Christopher Ekpenyong, former deputy governor of Akwa Ibom State, who gave the advice urged President Muhammadu Buhari to use dialogue where genuine stakeholders of the region will interface with the Federal Government to resolve the problem.

 Many militant groups have emerged in the region attacking oil facilities that has cut oil production from an average of 2.2 million barrels per day to about 1.3 million barrels per day.

 Speaking in Uyo, the state capital, Ekpenyong traced the history of agitation for equity and fairness in resource allocation to 1960s when the late Isaac Adaka Boro was at the forefront, noting that such confrontational postures only worked  to undermine the development of the Niger Delta.

 He noted that as the Buhari-led administration has set the tone towards the implementation of UNEP report on Ogoni cleanup, it is unnecessary for militants to engage in attacks on oil facilities that would add to the problems of the long-suffering people of Niger Delta.

 He urged the federal government to address the genuine concerns of minorities in the country

  “Niger Delta should be given a fair share of what it is producing,’’ he said adding that the management of oil resources in region must be equitably distributed and Niger Deltans allowed greater participation for greater benefits to the region.

 Besides, Ekpeneyong, also advocated for each state to have a greater control of its resources, noting that the Federal Government’s overbearing influence on components states was partly responsible for the ongoing conflicts in many parts of the country.

According to him, dousing the current tension in the region through genuine dialogue would detract the President from his pre-election promises to Nigerians and also force public opinion against him -if he wishes to re-contest in 2019.

He appealed to the Federal Government to ensure a paradigm shift by diversifying the economy from oil to agriculture and solid minerals, pointing that such change in focus would reduce dependence on oil while creating jobs and wealth for the people in other sectors of the economy.