Ogoni Cleanup Delay: MEND Leaders Send Strong Message

Former Militant leaders from the nine States of the Niger Delta region have sent a protest letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, over the need to complete the East-West road project, delay in the cleanup of Ogoni oil spill sites and an increase in the funding of the Presidential Amnesty Programme in order to secure lives, encourage security and increase the capacity of youths in the region.

The leaders made up of 60 per cent of the first phase leaders of the Amnesty programme, under the aegis of the Leadership, Peace and Cultural Development Initiative (LPCDI), also urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to compel oil multinationals to engage youths from the region in gainful employment to sustain the ongoing peace in the area.

According to the National President of the group, Pastor Reuben Wilson, the administration of President Buhari needs more commendation for the development strides in the region and the increase numbers of appointments allocated to indigenes of the region.

He said though the peace being enjoyed in the region is as a result of the decision taken by their leaders including High Chief Government Ekpwemupolo known as Tompolo, King Ateke Tom and Dr. Ebikabowei Victor Ben known as Boyloaf, there is the need to meet with President Buhari in order to deliberate and proffered solutions for more gains and for peace and security in the region.

The leaders further pleaded with the President to help and complete the East-West road which has become a death trap, causing several loses of lives and damaging vehicles.

They also asked the current administration to look into the Ogoni clean-up to ensure the project is successfully completed.

“The oil companies working in the region should be compelled to engage the youths in the area in their operations to avoid restiveness. Such measures will bring pipeline vandalism to an end”.

On the personality clashes among political appointees from the region, the Ex-militant leaders cautioned that the personality clashes and bring-him-down syndrome among the Niger Delta Political appointees is causing a set back in the development of the region.

The group resolved that the ex-militant leaders and political appointees at the Federal Level should come to an agreement to give total support to any Niger Delta leader in office. We must come together and support our brothers, ”However, in case where such public office holder refuses to do the right thing, we should take the option of paying a personal visit to the person and state our grievances rather than resorting to open slandering over the media”.

“We currently have a number of our brothers in key positions like Chief Timipre Sylva (Petroleum Minister), Senator Akpabio (Minister of Niger Delta Affairs), Rotimi Amaechi (Minister of Transport), Prof. Charles Dokubo (Special Adviser to President on Niger Delta Affairs and Coordinator Presidential Amnesty Program), Senator Eta Enang ( Senior Special Assistant to President on Niger Delta Affairs), and a host of others”.

“We are pleading with the entire Niger Delta people to always support and stand by them and learn to be our brother’s keeper. It was also resolved in the meeting to give whole and total support to Prof. Charles Dokubo. We also implore the President to use his good office to keep on supporting and funding the programme. We urge all Niger Deltans to support Prof. Dokubo and to also forgive and forget any wrong he might have done to anybody”.

“We thank President Buhari for the love he has shown the region by giving those appointments to our brothers, we also call on him to do more by engaging more of our youth as we promise him our total support. The group is also using this opportunity to plead with our aggrieved brothers to channel all their complaint properly instead of taking laws into their hands. We cannot achieve development if we do not embrace peace”.

Also speaking, the Rivers State Coordinator of the group, Grandville Ideye, also known as Egbele suggested that the Amnesty Office needs more funding to enable the leaders and their boys to attend leadership trainings abroad.

In his brief, the Financial Secretary of the group, Andrew Chidi, also known Vokor, commended President Buhari over the ordered forensic investigation into the spending of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), ”The leaders want the NDDC to look critically into the Niger Delta region to identify and move into areas that have not been developed”.

THISDAY

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