By Akpo Mudiaga Odje
After amnesty comes employment, rehabilitation and redress.Â We challenge government to declare its proposals for employment, feeding, welfare, housing and education of the people granted amnesty.
If the Federal Government is sincere, it should release all funds accruing to the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC,Â increase the paltry N47 billion budget to the Ministry of Niger Delta as well as prevail on all States of the Niger Delta to set up their respective State Oil Commissions with a minimum of 50% of the 13% derivation as its funding; and all such funds accruing to it be paid directly from source to the Commissions by the Accountant-General of the Federation.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), all Federal Government oil_related agencies and all multinational oil Companies should relocate their headquarters to their areas of operation, preferably in the creeks of the Niger Delta which will inevitably create employment for the youths and development for our people.Â We also advocate for an upward review to 25% in the meantime of the principle of derivation; and such calculation shall include the continental shelf, and not just a paltry 200 metres depth isobath as obtains today.
With utmost dispatch, the Federal Government should cause to be repealed the following unjust, oppressive and retrogressive expropriatory laws which have apparently divested the people of their ownership rights to control their God-given resources.Â Such laws include but are not limited to the following, to wit:- oÂ Â Â Territorial Waters Act, Cap. T4 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
*Exclusive Economic Zone Act, Cap. E17 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004; Land Use Act, Cap. L5 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004;Â Interpretation Act, Cap. 123 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004;Â Oil Pipelines Act, Cap. 07 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004;Â Petroleum Act, Cap. P10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004;Â Minerals and Mining Act, Cap. M12 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004;Â National Inland Waterways Authority Act, Cap. N47 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004; Section 44 (3) of the 1999 Constitution;Â Item 39 on the Exclusive Legislative List of the 1999 Constitution.
If this and more, including the implementation of the Ledum Mittee Report are religiously implemented, the youth restiveness and tension in the region which had necessitated the Presidentâ€™s grant of general amnesty will never arise.Â Our youths want to share and partake from the benefits accruing from the exploration and exploitation of their oil and gas resources.Â That is the issue, Mr. President.Â And no amount of amnesty can suppress the legitimate aspirations of our people.
In the meantime we strongly urge the Federal Government to urgently embark on comprehensive reparation for the sacked Ijaw Communities as well as rehabilitation of all displaced persons arising therefrom.
At this point, it should be emphasized that the destruction of the Gbaramatu peopleâ€™s cultural heritage was a violation of international law specifically the 1954 Hague Cultural Property Convention, which prevents the destruction of cultural property in times of war or military occupation.Â (See Documents on the Laws Of War 2008 by Adam Roberts and Richard Guelff at page 372).