By Jimitota Onoyume
PORT HARCOURTâ€”TO reduce tension and conflicts in the Niger Delta, the Federal Government has been urged to come up with confidence building measures that wouldÂ Â address challenges confronting the region.
In a lecture delivered, weekend, in Uvwie, Delta state,Â Â titled The Niger Delta, Our Continent and the Global Justice Movement, in honour and memory of late Professor of Anthropology, Omafume Onoge, Prof Biodun Jeyifo of Harvard University, United States of America, spoke of a gloomy future for the country if it failed to take steps to resolve the challenges in the region
Lamenting the level of poverty and underdevelopment in the region, Prof. Jeyifo urged the nationâ€™s leadership to learn a lesson from the colonial exploitation where those behind it suffered degradation and dehumanization as much as the colonized.
He noted that â€œno country treats its resource base, its own peoples and communities the way the Nigerian state treats the Niger Delta and the vast majority of the population of this country and survives.
â€œAnd the more savage, the more cynical and mindless the treatment meted to its own people, the worse the fate that befalls the nation. Colonial exploitation degrades and dehumanizes the colonizer as much as the colonized. For this reason, sooner than later and in one way or another, everybody pays the price for the wrongs and evils done by colonialism.
This is a lesson one finds again and again in a study of the history and vocation of all modern forms of colonialism everywhere in all the continents of our world in the last five centuries.
Continuing, he enjoined the federal government to immediately begin steps to rescue the region from the brinks of total collapse just as he described late Prof Onoge as an eminent scholar that would be greatly missed the world over.
â€œThe terrible wrongs done to and in the Niger Delta have to end and end soon. The great suffering, the unspeakable dispossession and the despoliation of the physical environment all have to stop.â€
â€œThe extreme injustice and exploitation that have been going on in the Niger Delta for the past five decades have to end, and end soon. Umaru Yarâ€™Adua, let it stop; PDP let it end and end now. The National Assembly, with all its party affiliations and groupings, let it end now.
â€œWith the death of the late Prof. Onoge in an Indian Hospital Sunday July 12, 2009, â€œ Nigeria and the world lost a great soul, a brilliant scholar and a revolutionaryâ€.
In a chat later with the Vanguard, Dr Youpele Banigo who served in the defunct Niger Delta Technical CommitteeÂ with the late Prof Onoge spoke of theÂ deceasedÂ as a celebrated scholar who would be remembered more for his progressive ideas.