By Inalegwu Shaibu
ABUJAâ€” THE Senate has urged President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua to quickly address the Niger Delta problem in the wake of the alarm raised by the Group Managing Director (GMD) of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Engineer Mohammed Barkindo that Nigeria has only two weeks reserve of crude oil for domestic consumption.
The Senate also took a swipe at the Niger Delta leaders for failing to effectively manage all the statutory allocations that have gone to the troubled oil rich region over the years.
enateâ€™s spokesman, Senator Ayogu Eze, who was reacting to reports in Abuja, that the countryâ€™s refineries may be shut down at about a fortnightâ€™s time owing to non-availability of crude for production said Yarâ€™Adua must speed up the amnesty initiatives and implement the Niger Delta Master Plan to save the nation from the imminent danger.
He said, â€œWe are saddened by the development and also bring into sharper focus the need for us to design a more robust answer to happenings in the Niger Delta. And also places in perspective the amnesty initiative of Mr. President because in offering that initiative, Mr. President was guarded by the interest of Nigerians.
I think Niger Delta problem has become like a sore thumb and unless we do something about it, the rest of the fingers will not be at peace.
â€œWe must strategize together; we must go back to the Niger Delta master plan, go back to all the initiatives that government has put in place to address the issue of militancy and unrest in the Niger Delta.
â€œWe must ask the state assemblies in the Niger Delta to rise up to call their leaders to question because apart from the intervention of the Federal Government a lot of statutory allocations have also gone to these states. If these allocations were used for the interest of the people, I am sure it would have ameliorated the sufferings of the people of the area.â€
Beside the implementation of the master plan, Senator Eze said the region also needs greater autonomy in the control of the oil resources.