By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoa â€” The governors of the thirty-six states of the federation, Sunday night, insisted that punitive measures be taken against persons involved in illegal bunkering.
They also made case for making public names of sponsors of illegal oil bunkerers in the Niger Delta.
The measures, the gover-nors said, will not only help stem the tide of oil theft in the creeks of the Niger Delta, but also serve as a deterrence to others that may be interested in economic sabotage.
Rising from their two-day meeting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, the governors, under the aegis of the Governorsâ€™ Forum, in a six-point commu-niquÃ© issued at the end of their deliberations, also threw their weight behind the Federal Governmentâ€™s plan-ned deregulation of the downstream sector of the nationâ€™s economy.
In the communiquÃ©, which was read by the chairman of the Forum, Dr. Bukola Saraki, the governors, however, advocated for a mass sensitisation and mobilisa-tion of the citizenry to acquaint them with the understanding of the benefit inherent in deregulation.
On illegal bunkering, the meeting, which was attended by 25 governors and their deputies stated, â€œThe Forum is of the view that people arrested engaging in this unwholesome venture must be decisively dealt with in order to act as deterrence to others that may be interested in this type of economic sabotage and the names of the illegal bunkerers be made public while drastic measures must be taken against them.
â€œWe have resolved that we will enforce laws that will deal with people involved in illegal oil bunkering, just as we have equally resolved that there is the need to also initiate and enforce laws that would curb this trend.â€
They stated that based on the presentations by the President of Ijaw National Congress (INC), Dr. Atuboyedia Obianime, and ex-militant commander, Mr. Ebikabowei Victor Ben, alias Boyloaf, the forum decided to throw its weight behind the amnesty and post-amnesty programme of Mr. President.
â€œSequel to the presentation by the two men, the gover-nors unanimously agreed to support both the amnesty and post-amnesty initiative of the government and do call on ex-militant leaders to continue to support the rehabilitation and reintegra-tion process which is prone to delays because of checks and balances inherent in a democratic system,â€ the statement added.
They also reiterated their resolve to collaborate with the National Economic Summit Group (NESG) as one of the prominent private sector-led economic think-tank in the country, stressing that the forum welcomed the opportunity to participate in setting Nigeriaâ€™s economic agenda together with the NESG.
On the security situation in the country, the forum condemned the activities of certain writers and ‘third columnists’ who they accused of seditious writings that are inimical to the nationâ€™s security.
â€œWe at the Governorsâ€™ Forum unanimously conde-mn certain comments in some national dailies by some writers and columnists,â€ the communique stated.