By Emma Amaize
WARRI â€” FORMER Minister of Information, Chief Edwin Clark; leader of the Niger-Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Alhaji Mujaheed Dokubo-Asari and the National President of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Dr. Chris Ekiyor, say it is unjustifiable and insulting to the people of the Niger-Delta for the Federal Government to contemplate building a Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) in Kaduna, which does not produce a drop of oil.
A Warri-based medical doctor, Dr. Toje David who shared their opinion also told Vanguard, â€œIt is shocking to hear that the Federal Government is planning another Petroleum Training Institute in Kaduna, which is not even in Niger-Delta when we are complaining that that PTI at Effurun in Delta state is not functionalâ€.
Itâ€™s abuse of power â€” Clark
Chief Clark told Vanguard, â€œI am opposed to it even though I believe in one Nigeria. It is an abuse of power and those in authority in the country should not abuse power, they should not, because they are in office, do things that are unjustifiable. On what grounds is the institute being sited in Kaduna, tell me, I want to knowâ€.
He said the Federal Government reached an agreement with a foreign University, Aberdeen to develop the PTI, Effurun in Delta State, but, apparently the agreement has been abandoned and the government wants to duplicate efforts by setting up another one in Kaduna.
The Niger-Delta leader said it was the same egoistic consideration that made former President Olusegun Obasanjo to set up the $8 billion Olokola Gas Plant in Ondo state and now, Yarâ€™Adua wants to adopt the same process, adding,Â â€œPeople in authority should not overuse their powerâ€
His words, â€œWhat is the idea of spending N19 billion in building a similar infrastructure in Kaduna when the one in Delta State is not workingâ€.
It’s an insult â€” Dokuboâ€“Asari
On his part, Dokubo-Asari told Vanguard on phone, â€œFor me, it is one of the greatest crimes by the present President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua government against the people of the Niger-Delta.
â€œThis is insulting, these people keep provoking us every time, can you tell me the meaning of a PTI being built in Kaduna, what is the justification for it, is it that Kaduna is an oil-producing state or what. When we talk, some people say we are always talking, but, you can see how they are daring us. This shows that they want to strangulate us in the Niger-Delta.
â€œWe must unite and fight, without uniting, we cannot stop them and they are playing on our intelligence using some of our people to rubber stamp such decisions. Look, are they not human beings with blood flowing in them just like blood flows in us too, we must confront them, they have one life just as we have one life tooâ€, Dokubo-Asari asserted.
He said those who planned such an insult on the people of the Niger-Delta should not be allowed to go free, adding, â€œWe must resist this insult by all means possibleâ€.
FG not ready to solve N-Delta problem â€” IYC President
Ijaw Youth Council president, Dr. Ekiyor on his part said, from available indications, the Federal Government was not ready to resolve the Niger-Delta crisis, as it was creating one problem or the other to provoke the people.
According to him, â€œHow else can you explain the recent approval of a whopping N19 billion for building of a petroleum institute in a desert like Kaduna, without hope of oil exploration?
This was how it was in the beginning and the leadership is unrepentant, the best institutions for nation building are all put in the North to further their continued hold of the nationâ€™s jugular.
Statistics of such institutions include theÂ Nigerian Defence Academy, NIPPS,Â Kuru, NTAÂ College, Jos,Â Police Academy, Kano, MOPOL Training School, Gwoza, Nigeria Military School,Â Zaria,Â Aviation College, Zaria, Nigeria Immigration Academy,Â Kano,Â National Space Centre, Abuja, NDLEA School, Shere Hills, Jos, Police Staff College, Bukuru, Jos and now a Petroleum University in Kaduna because, to me, that is what they intend to transform it to.
â€œIt is, therefore, clear that there is a cabal in the land making sure that our Niger-Delta and the people therein remain underdeveloped and underprivileged.”
He said he was shocked that it was the same President Yarâ€™Adua that put Niger-Delta as one of his seven-point agenda that was committing such havoc against the region.
It’s unjustifiable â€”Dr. Toje
Dr David, brimming with anger said: â€œItâ€™s absolutely unjustifiable, how can the government say they want to locate a Petroleum Training Institute in Kaduna, what are the reasons because I know Kaduna does not produce oil.
Talking about the geophysics and geology of oil, it is not a place where students of the petroleum should study petroleum production, so, I am at a loss as to the rationale for the decision.
â€œBesides, the Federal Government has left the PTI, EffurunÂ to a large extent in a non-functional state, the institution should be upgraded to a world-class University of Petroleum Technology instead of duplicating efforts by setting up another one in Kaduna, which has nothing to do with oil productionâ€, he asserted.