Niger Delta Oil Belongs To Nigeria, Obasanjo Hits Edwin Clark
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Former Nigeria’s President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has berated a leader of the Ijaw nation, Chief Edwin Clark, over his recent claim that oil in the Niger Delta belongs to the region and not to Nigeria.

He posited that Clark’s ownership claim amounted to having two sovereign entities within a state, which is impossible in any clime no matter the conditions.

Africa Today News, New York recalls that the leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum and chairman of the Board of Trustees, Ijaw National Congress (INC), had in a letter titled, ‘My Disappointment Over Unprovoked Outburst Against The People of Niger Delta Region’ accused Obasanjo of resenting the people of the region.

His comments came after Obasanjo allegedly attacked Ebipamowei Wodu, national secretary of INC over resource control at a recent peace meeting.

Clark asserted that section 140 of the 1963 constitution provided that a natural resource found in a region is to be controlled by the people of the area.

However, Obasanjo said the provision did not imply that resources found in any region belongs to the people there.

‘My dear chief, where in this constitutional provision is it said or implied that minerals located in any part of Nigeria belongs to that location? For emphasis and to further buttress the point, the provision is even in the Exclusive List – exclusively reserved to the Federal Government,’ he said.

Read Also: Nigeria Needs State Police To Tackle Insecurity – Obasanjo

The former president said it was wrong and unconstitutional for Clark and the people of Niger Delta to lay claim to crude oil or any mineral resources, saying, ‘no territory in Nigeria including the minerals found therein belongs to the area of location and this remains so until the federation is dissolved.’

He expressed disappointment over Clark’s deployment of ‘offensive and uncouth’ languages which according to him are unbecoming of a leader of Clark’s status to describe him.

The former president declared that Nigeria and Niger Delta demand in Clark, a statesman and not a tribesman, just as he cautioned the Ijaw nation leader against deploying ‘offensive and uncouth languages’ to describe his personality.

‘Some of the languages you (Clark) have deployed to describe me in your letter are offensive, uncouth and totally and completely rejected them. I am not inconsistent, hypocritical, unstatesman and nor am I anybody’s lackey.

‘You use your own yardstick to judge others. I fear God and I respect those who respect themselves and I hope it is about time you change from a tribesman to a statesman of character. That is what Nigeria and indeed the Region you profess to love demand of you at this stage.

‘I believe one lesson that we all must appreciate that we have all learned in the last sixty-one years of our independence is that we all need to be civil to ourselves and occasionally put ourselves in the position of others.

‘Bad language does not show prudence, wisdom, and maturity. I hope you will think and adjust. Negotiation achieves better results than dictation. I believe that we should be reformists rather than being pedantic with leave-it or take-it attitude’, Obasanjo stated in the letter.

Read Also: You Can’t Intimidate Us – Ijaw Leaders Reply Obasanjo

The letter read further: ‘For me, personally. I have never shown any anger or distraught with Nigeria Delta Region nor with any part or Region of Nigeria Rather, I have always picked points on leadership performance or policies and I will continue to do so.

‘My records before, during and after the civil war in Nigeria Delta Region was without blemish and it was all goodwill to all the people of Nigeria and especially the people of the Niger Delta Region which was my theatre of operation during the Nigerian civil war.

‘I have always stood for equity and justice in our Federation and, for me tribe has to be suppressed for the state to emerge. And until the state emerges, Nigeria will not make the desired progress as tribesmen will always sacrifice state for tribe. This has always been my position and it will remain my position until breathe my last’.

On allegation of double standard over resource control in the country, Obasanjo said: “You (Clark) cannot have two sovereign entities within a state which is what your position of Niger Delta ownership claim of the crude oil found in that location amounts to.

‘The territory of Nigeria is indivisible inclusive of the resources found therein. No territory in Nigeria including the minerals found therein belongs to the area of location and this remains so until the federation is dissolved.

‘This is the position of the Nigerian Constitution and international law. If there is a threat of violence to any part of Nigeria today, including the Niger Delta, it is the Nigerian military backed by any other machinery that can be procured or established at the Federal level that will respond to any such threat. In principle and practice, the position taken on the location of mineral resources in any part of Nigeria is the legal and constitutional position.

‘May I also recall the adjunct position I proposed that equity and justice demand that those domiciled in these locations are entitled to more of the material benefits accruing from the crude oil or other minerals. At the end of the day, it may transpire that our linguistic differences on this matter are no more than semantics. And we stand on the same logic with respect to the criminal mining of gold deposits in Zamfara State today or any other State in Nigeria or any other part of Nigeria.’

Africa Today News, New York recalls that the Ijaw National Congress (INC) had two weeks ago attacked the former President over the latter’s comments on resource control, accusing him of bullying the National Secretary of the group, Ebipamowei Wodu.

AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK

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