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16 Point Demands From Niger-Delta Leaders For Lasting Peace In The Oil-Rich Region

Leaders of Nigeria’s Niger- Delta region, in a meeting with President Mohammadu Buhari and other government leaders have presented a 16 point list they believe could establish a permanent and lasting solution to militancy and related problems in the region.
King Alfred Diete-Spiff, the Amanayabo of Brass and Chairman of the Traditional Rulers Council in Bayelsa State, who led the delegation, presented the 16-point request of the region at the Niger Delta stakeholders’ meeting with President Buhari held at the State House
The 16 points presented, according to the Niger Delta representatives are quick wins that could be achieved and would restore hope and confidence in a region.
They are:

  • The Presidential Amnesty Programme: The Niger Delta decried that of the five components of the disarmament and retrieval of weapons from the ex-militants, only the disarmament and demobilisation component was being implemented. Tension over the fate of the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme is as a result of the absence of a genuine exit strategy. The region wants the programme reviewed to reappraise its core mandate to provide a robust exit strategy, in order to transit recipients into jobs, effectively integrate them and wean them off dependency on stipends, so that their new-found skills would be of benefit to themselves and the larger community.
  • Law and Justice: In view of the insecurity in the Niger Delta, a number of pending law and justice issues regarding some aggrieved groups and individuals are yet to be resolved. It is important to address these issues urgently as a step towards lasting peace.
  • The effect of increased military presence in the Niger Delta: The increase in military presence has resulted in invasion of communities, displacement of persons, harassment and other forms of human rights abuses. The region wants government to halt the escalation of tension in the region.
  • Plight of internally displaced persons: They want the relevant government agencies to take urgent measures to meet the immediate needs of those displaced by the upsurge of insecurity in the region.
  • The Ogoni clean-up and environmental remediation: They want government to speed up the exercise. They want government to enforce the zero gas flare deadline. They want the devastating effects of coastal erosion and lack of an effective shoreline protection for the coastal communities tackled urgently. They ask the federal government to commission a region-wide credible assessment of the impact of crude oil pollution on the environment in the region and undertake to enforce environmental laws.
  • The Maritime University: The region wants the prompt take-off of the Niger Delta University.
  • Key regional critical infrastructure: They want the completion of the East-West Road and full implementation of the rail project that is designated to run through the Niger Delta region to Lagos.
  • Security surveillance and protection of oil and gas infrastructure: They want pipeline surveillance contracts given to the communities rather than to individuals in a manner that is of some benefits to their responsibility. Communities would then see their responsibility over the pipelines as protection of what belongs to them.
  • Relocation of the administrative and operational headquarters of the IOCs: The headquarters of most oil companies are not located in the Niger Delta region. As a result the region is denied of all the developmental and associated benefits that would have accrued to the region from their presence. It has therefore become imperative for the IOCs to relocate to their areas of operation. This move would create a mutually beneficial relationship with the host communities.
  • Power Supply: The region advocated a power plan that strongly ties power supply in the region to gas supply, thereby giving all sides a stake in proved stability.
  • Economic development and empowerment: The Niger Delta wants Brass LNG and a fertiliser plant, including the Train 7 of Nigeria LNG implemented; a review and update of the national gas master plan to integrate the economic interests and industrialisation of the region; the creation of a Niger Delta industrial corridor that would process some portions of the hydrocarbon natural resources; expedited work on the export processing zones; and the harnessing of the huge rain-fed agricultural potential of the area through the development of farm estates, fishery development projects and agro-allied industrial clusters, etc.
  • Inclusive participation in oil industry and ownership of oil blocs: The region wants the federal government to enunciate policies and actions that will address the lack of participation, as well as the imbalance in the ownership of oil and gas assets.
  • Restructuring and funding of the NDDC: The restructuring will ensure it is refocused as a true interventionist agency to respond swiftly to the yearnings of the grassroots of the Niger Delta. Communities must be able to have a say in what projects come to them and also want full implementation of the funding provisions of the NDDC Act.
  • Strengthening the Niger Delta Ministry: It said the era of abysmal funding should end. The ministry should be adequately funded and strengthened to fulfill the purpose for which it was created.
  • The Bakassi Question: The Niger Delta recommend a comprehensive resettlement plan, including development for the host communities and displaced population to reduce the risk of making them into stateless persons.
  • Fiscal Federalism: The region supports the call for true federalism and urged that federal government treats the matter expeditiously.

Also present at the meeting  were Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel and his Bayelsa State counterpart, Seriake Dickson, all the Niger Delta ministers in the federal cabinet, the service chiefs, the Inspector General of Police (IG), several traditional rulers and members of the civil society groups from the region.
However, militant groups from the region or their representatives were conspicuously absent.
Image result for 16 Point Demands From Niger-Delta Leaders For Lasting Peace In The Oil-Rich Region
Responding, the president said that he welcomed the 16-point request presented to him by the Niger Delta leaders. According to a statement from the presidency, Buhari also told the elders he was still expecting reports from government officials he had instructed to review the implementation of the Amnesty Programme to determine where government had fallen short so that amends could be made.
The statement said the president further explained to the Niger Delta leaders that the service chiefs were putting together their own assessment of the militancy situation, saying: “When I have these reports, including this one (just presented), we will revisit the situation (in the region) to ensure that we succeed this time.”
 

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