Traditional rulers and stakeholders from the Niger Delta region yesterday listed six things the federal government should do in order to stop further destruction of the country’s oil assets by militants and restore peace in the region.
King Jaja of Opobo, Douglas Jaja, was among prominent rulers in the region who met with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, in Abuja yesterday to present their demands.
Niger Delta Coastal States’ monarchs and stakeholders in the region called on the federal government to urgently constitute a dialogue team to negotiate on its behalf with stakeholders in the region.
In their submission presented by Chief Wellington Okirika, the Bolowei of Gbaramatu Kingdom, the monarchs asked for the release of 10 school children they said were arrested by the Nigerian Army on May 28, 2016 in Oporoza and others in detention.
They also asked the government to: “Return the Golden Sword, being the symbol of authority in the Gbaramatu traditional institution, return the three traditional council speed boats in custody of the Nigerian Army, and cease military hostilities in the Niger Delta region.
“Equally important, the federal government should make a categorical statement about the opening of the Maritime University, Okerenkoko Delta State for academic activities in the 2016/2017 session,” they added.
Kachikwu, in his response, said what was more important was that the ceasefire must hold.
“I was told, and I have not verified it, that in fact, on Monday, a day after the announcement, we had an attack on Nembe Creek, and we lost another 150,000 barrels and some gas from the Agip facility.
So there are still some splinter elements who despite the ceasefire, continue to attack the efficacy of that ceasefire,” he said.
Kachikwu disclosed that over $40 billion had been put into the Niger Delta region but there was no infrastructure to relay such investment.
The minister lamented that the government could no longer fund the 2016 budget due to the crisis in the region which had led to a significant drop of Nigeria’s crude oil output to about 1.3million barrels per day, in addition to the falling crude oil price.
When President Muhammudu Buhari came on board to fly the flag of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the party’s presidential candidate during the 2015 presidential election, some Nigerians foresaw a glimpse of hope following his integrity quotient and his readiness to rebrand the country through a corruption free and sound leadership.
Some concerned Nigerians who were tired of the abysmal display of the then ruling party, saw the APC as a suitable replacement of the Peoples Democratic Party whose over 15 years of fiasco laden administration incurred the present economic hardship for the country.
It is worthy of note to say that, the manner in which President Buhari was accepted by the generality of the people of Nigeria was overwhelming especially because no opposition party in the history of the country ever had electoral effrontery to unseat an incumbent government.
But the Nigerian people were taken aback to see that, after one year of being in the leadership at the centre, the president appears to be extremely silent over some cogent issues that bother on national destiny and the welfare of the people of Nigeria as enshrined in the party’s manifesto during the electioneering campaign thereby putting the destiny of our great party, the APC in jeopardy.
While we expects the president and his handlers to hit the ground running by putting down a structured economic modality and result oriented leadership plan, it was however disheartening to note that, it took the present administration almost six months to inaugurate its cabinet members.
Besides, majority of the promises made to the people which wooed them into loving the APC have not seen the light of fulfilment and this has glaringly resulted to a national ecclesiae as the Change Mantra we fought for with the last drop of our blood has turned to ‘Change,’ denoting poverty, scarcity and lack.
While some Nigerians are complaining of sentimental appointment by the president, where a certain region is favoured above other regions in the country, we in the APC, are aware that the various political blogs that make up the APC comprising of ACN, ANPP, CPC, and a faction of APGA are not finding it funny as it is obvious that, those from the platform of the CPC enjoy the favour of the president more than others.
I am writing this article out of passion, interest, and commitment to nurture, grow, and develop our great party, the APC. However, it is pertinent to inform my esteem readers that, I will be dishing out informative and educative articles periodically to serve as a guide post to national sensitisation and public enlightening.
It is indeed obvious that, my dear party, the APC has been carried away by the euphoria of electoral victory and have jettisoned the vital component of governance that will benefit the people of Nigeria and unite APC members.
It is glaring that we urgently need to embark on party reform in APC with the aim of leveraging on our party’s popularity and checkmating the undue manner of handling avoidable errors which are capable of undermining our party’s ideals and unity.
Mr. President Sir, Nigerian people elected you to occupy the highest office in the land, the Aso Villa, in such a time when there was a palpable lacuna in the national leadership. With their bare hands, they thumb-printed the ballot papers for you. They procured your victory through their permanent voter cards as well as their determined resolve to set a platform for the journey of a new dawn.
The poor and the ignored people of the society were mostly the ones that fought for your victory. With their sweat, they graded the road for your safe trip to Aso Villa; they therefore deserve to enjoy the core dividends of democracy.
Since the reign of the Fourth Republic, it has been known that between the leaders and the led, there seems to be a master-servant relationship which has culminated to sharp inequality in the Nigerian society thereby besmirching the core values of an egalitarian state. This, you said you would fight during your campaign where Nigerians can have equal treatments across board.
The leadership that Nigerians are expecting from you sir, is the kind that is rooted in love. This is further buttressed in the first stanza of our most respected National Anthem which says, “…To serve our fatherland with ‘love’ and strength and faith…” Love remains one of the core ingredients for service as its absence will wreck the motive for leadership.
When love is absent, leadership becomes hardship and instead of constructing and improving on the lives of the people, the leaders will end destroying the institutions in the land as well as the people they lead. With love, Nigerians brought you to power through their votes and in the same token you will lead them to the desired shoreline of their prosperity.
As a God elected father over the Nigerian state, you have said in many of your speeches that, in your regime, there will not be disparity between you and the people that elected you. Only love will make you walk that talk.
Only a love filled regime will confer its people with basic needs where according to you, no Nigerian will go to bed with hunger. A love filled policy and workable approaches are what every leader needs to fight poverty in the land. But today, Nigerians are not only going to bed with hunger, they are dying of hunger while some of them out of impatience have started stealing pots of soup to survive.
Your Excellency Sir, may your love for democratic shepherd-hood over your new bride (Nigeria) be so lavished on her to a degree that she may not have a need to look somewhere else to fill her love tank.
Nigeria has been in and out of love for over a decade and half, the love union which has been marked with spiky infidelity. However, infidelity in leadership occurs when a leader fails to practice what he preaches and the followers are not loyal to obeying the law of the land.
Sir, Nigerians have suffered infidelity in the hands of its handlers before now. The Peoples Democratic Party, to whom the country was first betrothed, deceived her, denied her of her deserved welfare, developmental packages and then divorced her without any alimony to cater for her children.
To avoid repeating the errors of the PDP, it is high time we put our house in order so as to redeem our image and tell Nigerians that we have better alternative than the Peoples Democratic Party whose impunity and maladministration wrecked and undeveloped the country.
Ohikere wrote in from Abuja.
Suspected herdsmen yesterday attacked a community in Enugu, killing one person and injuring four others, among them an expectant woman who was reportedly stabbed in the stomach.
Attakwu Akegbe Ugwu community in Nkanu West council area – not far from Enugu metropolis – was attacked at dawn by the herdsmen.
It was the second attack, after the one at Nimbo. Nine people were buried following that attack. A judicial commission of enquiry set up by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has just submitted a preliminary report on the attack.
In yesterday’s incident, four persons including the husband of the expectant woman, are critically injured, undergoing treatment at the Park Lane Hospital and the Mother of Christ Hospital in Enugu.
A Catholic Church seminarian, Lazarus Nwafor, who on Wednesday completed his apostolic work at the local church, was killed.
Ugwuanyi and the Catholic bishop of Enugu Diocese, Bishop Callistus Onaga, visited the community.
They were conducted round the scene of the attack by Hon. Afam Okeke, chairman of Nkanu West Local Council.
According to the villagers’ account, the herdsmen, believed to be Fulani, invaded a family compound with their cows which destroyed crops and property.
A woman in the compound raised the alarm and chased away the cows by sounding a gong. The cows went in various directions on hearing the sound. They are said to be averse to the sound of a gong.
This reportedly did not go down well with the herdsmen who challenged the woman. They were said to have threatened to retaliate. They raided the compound at about 2am.
They reportedly climbed the ceiling from where they jumped into the rooms, using machetes and daggers to attack the occupants, including the seminarian.
The herdsmen were said to have escaped unhurt and when the community’s men stormed their makeshift camp, they were all gone with their belongings.
Ugwuanyi told members of the Atakwu community that enough was enough on the herdsmen’s attacks. He said he would no longer fold his arms while people were being killed.
He said the people would henceforth do everything to defend themselves.
The governor expressed regrets that the attack happened in spite of doing everything to ensure that the Nimbo attack was the last.
In a statement later, Ugwuanyi said: “I received the report of an attack by suspected herdsmen in the Attakwu community during which one person-a seminarian – was killed and four others injured.
“Even though the Police are still conducting investigation into the matter, I hasten to condemn this act in the strongest terms and its entirety for government cannot tolerate the wanton destruction of lives anywhere in Enugu State by anyone or group under any guise whatsoever.
“I have already summoned a meeting with the Fulani community and the security agencies in Enugu State this afternoon to review the situation and determine the appropriate actions to be taken.
“It is indeed unfortunate that this incident is coming just days after the Commission of Inquiry into the killings at Nimbo submitted an interim report and is about to conclude its assignment.
“I wish on behalf of the State Government, to express my sympathies to the family of the deceased, I assure them that Government will do everything necessary to ensure that the culprits are apprehended and brought to book while we take care of the medical bills of the injured persons.
“I want to reassure all citizens of the State of the unwavering commitment of Government to ensuring the security in every corner of the state. We will continue to take necessary and adequate measures to protect the lives and property of our people and ensure that anyone or group of people found to be engaging in acts that threaten peace and security in the state, will be made to face the full wrath of the law.”
Enugu State Police Commissioner Emmanuel Ojukwu sympathised with family of the victims and the community.
A statement by police spokesman Ebere Amaraizu said: “Security made up of personnel of riot policemen, Counter Terrorism Unit as well as operatives of the Homicide Section of the State Criminal and Investigation Department, Enugu have been deployed to the area to ward off any breakdown of law and order.”