By Peter Duru
MAKURDI â€” Act-ing President, Goodluck Jonathan, has been urged to take immediate steps to ensure that the peace deal the Federal Government entered into with militants in the troubled Niger Delta does not collapse in order to save the region and indeed the nation another round of trauma arising from hostilities and violence in the area.
Second Republic Senator and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, stalwart, Senator Jack Gyado, argued that the time to act is now, warning that anything to the contrary would pose serious problems for the nationâ€™s economy.
Stresses N-Delta’s importance
Senator Gyado, whose comment is coming against the back drop of renewed threat to the fragile peace in the area, stated that the Niger Delta is too critical to the growth and development of the country, advising that the recent events in the area should be addressed with all sense of commitment and patriotism.
The elder statesman, who spoke to newsmen in Makurdi, also urged the Federal Government to place developments in the area on the front burner of issues that affect the stability of the nation.
Blasts oil firms’ double standards
While lauding the initiatives of the present administration to resolve the crisis politically, he decried the double standards of the companies that explore oil in the area.
According him, â€œoil companies operating in Nigeria have not helped matters. Not with the daily flaring of gases and other unwholesome practices that expose the people of Niger Delta to all forms of hazards and dangers.
â€œOil companies must observe best practices in Nigeria because what they presently do here are neither practiced anywhere in the world nor in their countries, because they are not the best practices around the world and they know it,â€ Gyado said.
Wants laws regulating oil exploration
The PDP chieftain advocated the enactment of laws to regulate practices in the oil sector, emphasising that the laws should not just be on paper, â€œbut must be implemented in such a way that oil companies that contravene the provisions of the law are punished severely.â€
He further canvassed that a prelude to this new law should be a meeting of stakeholders where the oil companies operating in Nigeria would be told the truth of their misdeeds to the people of Niger Delta and Nigerians in general.
Gyado noted that the gift of money to militants in the Niger Delta would amount to a temporary reprieve.
He said, â€œif you give a militant money, he spends it and when he looks around and sees environmental degradation in his community, he will turn around and pick up his guns and head for the creeks.
â€œTherefore, the way out of this situation is to confront it from the root,â€ he said.