By Emma Amaize
PATANIâ€”DEPUTY Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, Hon. Basil Ganagana, has said the downgrade of the already functional Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, near Warri, by the Federal Government has exposed the contradiction and insincerity of President Umaru Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s government to the Niger-Delta.
Mr. Ganagana, while speaking to newsmen in his country home, Patani on Sunday said, â€œthe position of the South-South governors over the relocation of the University to Kaduna following the approval of over N14 billon by the Federal Government for the construction of the National College of Petroleum Studies in Kaduna is an endorsement of an earlier resolution by the Delta State House of Assembly on November 11, 2008.
â€œThe motion moved by me under matter of urgent public importance read: That this Honourable House urges His Excellency, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to direct the Petroleum Training and Development Fund (PTDF) to reverse the plan to establish the National College of Petroleum Studies in Kaduna; direct the PTDF to site the proposed National College of Petroleum Studies in the Niger Delta.â€
The Deputy Speaker faulted in all ramification the decision of the Federal Government to site the college in Kaduna and called on the South-South lawmakers in the National Assembly, the State Houses of Assembly in the South-South and the entire people of the region to reject the orchestrated design to perpetually reduce the Niger-Delta people to the status of the hewers of wood and drawers of water in the oil industry.
According to him, â€œthis is so because, the National College of Petroleum Studies in Kaduna is expected to provide senior- level manpower in the oil industry as against the junior and middle- level manpower being provided by the Petroleum Training Institute in Effurun, Delta State.â€
Ganagana, who served as speaker of the House between 2001 and 2003, said the governors of the zone were right in their objection to the Petroleum Industry Bill because it did not capture the interest of the oil -bearing communities, local and the states as well as the amnesty because of lack of a definite post-amnesty programme by the federal government and called for their outright rejection and condemnation by well meaning Nigerians, especially Niger-Deltans in their entirety.
â€œThe action of the federal government is capable of inciting youths in the area against the governors and other well meaning people who have been pleading with them to embrace the federal governmentâ€™s amnesty deal.
â€œWe have been talking of getting the boys from the creeks and engaging them meaningfully and to make the place safer for investments. â€œI sincerely believe that this ugly development will not further aggravate an already worse situation, as it portends grave danger in the face of grinding poverty, squalor, deprivation and an environment seriously threatened by pollution occasioned by oil exploration and exploitation.
â€œConsequently, it has become absolutely imperative to, as a matter of urgency, for the federal government to terminate the relocation of the Federal University of Petroleum Resources to Kaduna and ensure that the institution is sited in any of the Niger Delta states if the overall aims and objectives of the much touted federal governmentâ€™s amnesty to militants in the Niger-Delta are to be realised,â€ he declared.