If the Federal Government is serious about resolving the Niger Delta problem, (Post Amnesty ) now is the time to revisit the way forward – contained in the Niger Delta Technical Committee Report (NDTC) or (The Ledum Mitee Report) presented to the President in December 2008.
â€œThe work of this Committee was initially conceived as a plan of action for a Summit on the Niger Delta.Â However, the Federal Government in deference to the views of stakeholders from the Region felt that there was tremendous resource in previous reports and that another summit was not necessary.
Consequently, the Vice President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, on behalf of the President inaugurated the 44- member Committee, on September 8,Â 2008.Â Immediately thereafter, the Committee met and elected Mr. Ledum Mitee and Ms Nkoyo Toyo, as Chairman and Secretary respectively (See Appendix 111 for list of members of the TCND).
In his inaugural address, His Excellency, the Vice President gave the Committee the following Terms of Reference (TOR):
1. To collate, review and distil the various reports, suggestions and recommendations on the Niger Delta from the Willinks Commission Report (1958) to the present and give a summary of the recommendations necessary for government action.
2.Â Â Â Â To appraise the summary recommendations and present a detailed short, medium and long terms suggestion to the challenges in the Niger Delta.
3.Â Â Â Â To make and present to government any other recommendations that will help the Federal Government achieve sustainable development, peace, human and environ-mental security in the Niger Delta regionâ€.
The Committee accomplished its task.
Let us give the Federal Government the benefit of the doubt â€” that is â€” that it did not ignore that Report â€”Â at least, it took â€œAMNESTYâ€ from it â€”Â but merely set it aside as no-white paper has been issued on it.
Vanguard will from tomorrow publish excerpts from theÂ Niger Delta Technical Committee (NDTC)Â report to guide the President who hasÂ restated, his resolve, this week, to solve the Niger Delta problem.Â For the struggle in the Niger Delta is not about â€œAMNESTYâ€â€” It’s about rectifying long enduring NEGLECT and UNJUSTNESS (some would say ABUSE) by all past and even present Federal Government of this country of â€œthe hen that lays the golden gooseâ€ â€” the section of the country that produces over 80% of Nigeriaâ€™s revenue.
Now, the week after the Amnesty is when to get really serious.Â Donâ€™t be deceived what the Federal Government has won by the militantsâ€™ surrender of their weapons called â€œAmnestyâ€ is only the â€œGoodwillâ€ of the militants.
If the Federal Government misses this opportunity by not being seen to produce some quick-fix practical evidences of creating jobs and physical development to match â€” the militants goodwill â€” let us not kid ourselves that Nigeria will continue to export crude â€” in peace.
That is why we now earnestly draw the Federal Governments attention to the Niger Delta Technical Committee (NDTC) of the Ledum Mittee Committee Report.