By Festus Ahon
UGHELLI â€” WARRI -based legal practitio-ner, Dr. Akpo Mudiaga Odje has commended President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua for his proposal to allocate 10% of the Federal Governmentâ€™s Joint Venture to the Oil Producing Communities.
Odje, who spoke with the Vanguard, yesterday, described the gesture as a welcome development and an evolutionary effort in developing the Niger Delta and her battered oil communities.
He opined that for the gesture get to constitutional backing, â€œMr. President must approach the National Assembly to pass a law authorising it so that it can be implemented as pursuant to Section 5, 1999 Constitu-tion. Without that, the action may become unconstitutio-nal.â€
The constitutional lawyer challenged the Federal Government to include also the oil producing communi-ties as shareholders in all the multinational oil companies operating in their domain and noted that the amnesty programme has taken off on a good note.
Odje, however, declared that amnesty without employment and empower-ment of the youths will be counter-productive and ineffectual. He urged the Federal Government to roll out comprehensive employ-ment, welfare and infrastruc-tural programmes for its post- amnesty phase of the current efforts in sustaining peace and development in the Niger Delta region.
He also charged the Governors of the Niger Delta to urgently embark on programmes and policies that will alleviate the plight and suffering of the people saying, â€œeven though we ask for increased derivation, we must apply judiciously even the little we have so far accrued for the benefit of the people.â€