September 16, 2021

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PIB: We’ve Lost Faith In One Nigeria –Ijaw Leaders

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Edith CHUKU

 

Stakeholders in the oil rich Niger Delta region have described the outcome of the Petroleum Industry Bill PIB, as injustice to the people of the region, saying that they have lost faith in one Nigeria.
Recently, youth bodies and leaders in the region have stated their position on the three per cent allotted to oil host communities in the PIB, passed by the National Assembly.
Some of such groups include the Coalition of Niger Delta Youth Groups, who during a meeting held in Port Harcourt kicked vehemently against the three per cent, requesting for a 10 per cent benefits for Niger Delta.
The group also sent a protest letter to Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari, stating their position on the matter and urging him to do the needful.
Again, a Pan-Ijaw group has rejected the outcome of the PIB, stressing that the region has faced several injustices. The group stated that the Ijaw and the people of the region had absolutely lost faith in one Nigeria.
Speaking under the aegis of the Movement for the Survival of Izon Ethnic Nationality in the Niger Delta, MOSIEND, the National President, comrade Kennedy Tonjo-West made this known to TNN.
According to him, “right now, we do not have faith in this country called Nigeria. Nigeria is not a place any region should talk about dialogue. The Federal Government has made us understand that they don’t care a hoot about how other regions fare as far as they satisfy their personal and regional interests.
“Not long ago, some northern groups including Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) commended President Muhammadu Buhari for giving Zamfara State the leverage to bargain how their gold will be sold but the same is not said or permitted of oil and gas.”
Tonjo-West stated that the Nigerian government, “do not feel the hardship, the environmental hazards of the people from other ethnic nationalities and feel that only three per cent is good for host communities and 30 per cent for a wild goose chase of oil exploration in the Basin.”
He bemoaned over what transpired at the National Assembly, saying, “it did not give the minorities any hope for a united Nigeria.”

 

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The president stressed that, “the three per cent for host communities’ development fund is unacceptable, unfortunate and unthinkable.” even as he faulted the National Assembly, accusing them of playing the northern script.
The Pan-Ijaw group reiterated that, “the Ijaw and the people of the region had absolutely lost faith in one Nigeria.”
Tonjo-West expressed shock over the alleged desperation to pass the PIB, he said, “Why the desperation to pass the PIB now? This same PIB has lingered right from 2008 and the North has always opposed it. How come now that they are in serious desperation to pass it into law?
“It is another form of neo-colonialism, another form of wanting to appease the people of the Niger Delta, it is another form of keeping them totally impoverished, it is another form of divide and rule, it is another form of telling the people of Niger Delta and the people of South South that they should go to hell.
“They should know that what goes around comes around. If the North thinks that today they have the President, they have the Senate, they have numerical strength, they should know that God also has the paramount interest in this Nigeria. They do not know where their desperation and wickedness will land them.
“Nigeria should be facing an implosion any minute from now. For us, it is crystal clear that the President of the country wants to use every opportunity to make sure that he shows to the people of the South that they are not part of this country.
“The desperation of our northern brothers will tear Nigeria apart because why other regions are trying their best to see how to shift grounds, compromise some areas for Nigeria to be one, they are doing everything that will tear the country apart, especially in the areas of addressing issues of injustice, equity and fair play.”
On restructuring, he said, “there have been series of calls on restructuring and the President will always say that the National Assembly is the best arbiter to address most of those issues, but with the fallout of the PIB, does National Assembly give the common man a hope for united Nigeria? Does the NASS give the minorities a hope that they are part of Nigeria? Instead, the North is using their numerical strength in the Assembly to subsume other minorities.
“This is why MOSIEND and other ethnic nationality groups have always said that the issue of restructuring cannot be addressed in the National Assembly because there is no equity there.”

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