…says regions should take charge of own resources
The pan-Yoruba socio- political group, Afenifere, yesterday, revisited the vexed issues of restructuring of the federation and the control of resources by each state or region, insisting that unless these two issues were comprehensively addressed, Nigeria will not be able to surmount her current economic, political and security challenges. Secretary General of Afenifere, Chief Sola Ebiseeni, who renewed the advocacy in a chat with newsmen in Akure, Ondo State, said restructuring, if adopted, would turn things around for Nigeria and make her a more prosperous, united and stable country.
He accused the Federal of displaying double standards in its policies and action, stressing that this was at the root of much of the conflicts plaguing different regions of the country. He charged the Federal Government to allow the Niger Delta region control the oil and gas resources available in its region just as it had permitted Zamfara and other states in the North West, North East and North Central region to control the solid mineral resources found in their regions. Ebiseeni argued that it was discriminatory for the people of the Niger Delta to be begging to be allocated marginal oil fields when the people in Zamfara have unfettered access to the gold deposits from where they have been making a fortune.
“In the same manner that gold and other solid mineral resources discovered in Zamfara and other states are allowed to be freely exploited by the owner states, the oil and gas exploited in our territory should be allowed to be managed by our people for the development of our area. “As the Zamfarans allegedly enjoy uninhibited access to the gold fields, there should be preference for the Niger Delta land owners instead of saying they must go through the rigours of marginal fields license bidding which costs millions in dollars,” he said.
Ebiseeni who was apparently reacting to the response President Muhammadu Buhari gave to a delegation from the Niger Delta during their recent visit to the Presidential Villa, Abuja, expressed dismay at a situation where Nigerians are not treated equally and criminals of one region are given preference over another.
“While the Nigerian state treated killer terrorist herdsmen with kid gloves and enjoined their victims to seek peace with their assailants, the Ijaw have complained that ‘the incessant attacks and destruction of our coastline communities at the slightest provocation by the military forces have created a siege mentality and resulted in displacement of lives and properties,” he said.
The Afenifere scribe advised Nigerians not to crucify the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, for standing surety for the leader of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, Nmadi Kanu, as the lawmaker did it for the love of his people. According to him, Abaribe was only doing for the people of the SouthEast zone what he did for Ralph Uwazuruike, the Leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB in 2007. Ebiseeni said, the South East was not the only challenge the Federal Government has today, adding that there were even worse insecurity situations in the North West and North East regions where the Boko Haram terrorists and armed bandits have been operating for years.