BY DANIEL IDONOR
THE threat by the South-South governors to pull out of the amnesty deal for militants in the Niger Delta, last night, drew response from the Presidency which said President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua hasâ€™tremendous respectâ€™ for the people of the area.
The six South-South governors, after a meeting in the Delta State capital, Asaba, on Thursday night threatened to pull out of the amnesty deal on the strength of the proposed Petroleum Industries Bill which they saw as a slap on the face of oil producing areas.
They also kicked against the movement of the University of Petroleum from Effurun to Kaduna; the lack of definite post-amnesty plan for the region; and the anti-South South posture of the petroleum minister, Dr Rilwanu Lukman. The governors are demanding a roundtable discussion on the issues as a condition for their continued support for the amnesty arrangement.
Reacting on the issues yesterday, presidential spokesman, Olusegun Adeniyi said that there was a serious misunderstanding of some of the issues raised. This, according to him, is of serious concern to the president.
He said: â€œThere is a serious misunderstanding about some of the issues raised but the president is very concerned and has been talking with the Niger Delta governors individually and I am aware a meeting had already been scheduled with them even before this latest development.
President Yarâ€™Adua has tremendous respect for the people of Niger Delta, identifies with the challenges in the region and is desirous of bringing development once peace is attained. The president believes in dialogue as the governors know very well and I am very sure the issues would be amicably resolved.”