delegation of the Niger Delta Peoples Congress (NDPC) was at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja yesterday and gave fresh conditions for peace during a meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
It would be recalled that elders from the region, under the auspices of Pan-Niger Delta Forum, had on November 1 met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa where they presented a 16-point demand to him.
The secretary of the Niger Delta Peoples Congress, Professor Benjamin Okaba, told Osinbajo yesterday that their visit was to re-affirm the plausible submissions earlier made, prioritise their concerns and place them in clearer perspectives.
Okaba listed his group’s demands as including political reconstruction and fiscal federalism, saying the derivation principle should allow the different units annex and control their resources and pay appropriate and agreed tax to the centre.
The group also demanded stoppage of further invasion of the region under any guise; unconditional release of all freedom fighters from detention, relocation of multinational corporations’ operational bases to the region and creation of at least 6,000 jobs for the teeming population of unemployed and restive youths of the region.
It also demanded resumption of academic activities at the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State and establishment of similar institutions in other parts of the region; release of over N800bn outstanding allocations to the NDDC; building of more modular refineries; reduction of the current state of environmental degradation and threat to life occasioned by the activities of the mult-national corporations in the region as well as comprehensive remediation of areas affected by oil spill.
Other demands were provision of medical facilities and attention to people suffering from ailments associated with oil and gas activities; prompting the legislative process for the review of the nation’s laws on environmental impact; immediate implementation of all laws stopping gas flaring in the region and establishment of internally displaced persons camps for the re-settlement of displaced persons at Bakassi, Gbaramatu, and so on.
In his response, Osinbajo charged the delegation to first address the issue of continued vanadalism in the region which, according to him, he said is the most important thing.
He noted that the problems in the region had always been there, saying if the elite in all regions of the country decide to end the problems in their regions, the crises would be resolved.
The vice president also told the delegation that independent producers who are Nigerians are the ones suffering from vandalism, not the international oil companies.