By AbdulSalam Muhammad
Kano – Presidential candidate of defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) in the 1993 general election, Alhaji Bashir Tofa, declared yesterday that the Federal Government has not been fair to the people of the Niger Delta region since the nationâ€™s major source of revenue, oil, is produced from the region.
Tofa told journalists in Kano that the region and its people had suffered total neglect in the absence of proactive policy, lamenting that over the years resources got from the region had been stolen or squandered by the privileged few.
Tofa, who expressed total dissatisfaction with the method and the approach adopted by successive governments to resolve the Niger Delta question, argued that they are grossly â€œinadequate, and self-servingâ€.
In his words: â€œEvery body has agreed that the Niger Delta people were offended just the same way most of us are also offended by the way they are squandering the wealth of the country.â€
The Kano-born politician stated that â€œnobody living in the Niger-Delta region can be happy with a situation where you find out that the vast majority of the wealth of the country is from your area, yet you are living in the worst condition.â€
The ANPP stalwart dismissed the creation of the Niger Delta Ministry and other bodies, maintaining that going by experience such bodies usually ended up as conduit pipes.
Tofa condemned what he described as the act of criminality introduced intoÂ the agitation by certain elements, pointing out that such tag is capable of diminishing the just agitation for better living condition.
Alhaji Bashir Tofa maintained that if the government wants to be taken serious about the Niger Delta question, it should unveil projects that have direct impact on the people, adding that bold steps should be taken to deal with criminal elements in the area particularly those that have derailed.
â€œI donâ€™t blame them for what they are doing, what I donâ€™t agree with is stealing the countries oil and becoming criminals, killing people, kidnapping and committing all sorts of atrocious activities that have the capability of tarnishing their own image and that of the countryâ€