Cameroun, Niger, Chad alarmed

BY HENRY UMORU, LEVINUS NWABUGHIOGU & JOSEPH ERUNKE

CHAIRMAN of the National Conference, Justice Idris Kutigi, has warned delegates to be careful in their choice of words during presentations.

According to the leadership of the Conference, it has become imperative to counsel delegates against the backdrop that submissions by a delegate a fortnight ago on the siting of nuclear power plants had already alarmed neigbhouring Cameroun, Chad and Niger Republic.

Kutigi, who was represented by his deputy, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, said during the consideration of the Energy Committee’s report: “Please, we are being covered live.
Let us be diplomatic in some of the things we say. One of our delegates made a comment on the floor about two weeks ago that seems to have generated some waves.

He said if we were going to set up nuclear plants we should set it up in borders of …..This has been taken seriously within the diplomatic community who were reading an implied hostile intention against them.”

In an apparent move to calm nerves of many delegates ahead of the adoption of a recommendation to explore the nuclear power generation option, Akinyemi, who cited examples of how India and Pakistan handled their nuclear power programmes said: “Those of you who have been to Pakistan and India will know that the nuclear sector is regarded as an important one. The Indians and Pakistanis look for the best and brightest to manage this sector.

The poverty you see in India and Pakistan exceeds the one you see here. But they don’t mix the two. Unless you are saying we don’t have our own brightest and best.”

Two weeks ago, during plenary, a delegate,  Atedo Peterside, while kicking against exploring the nuclear option of power generation cited “Nigeria’s inability to effectively manage motor accidents much less nuclear plant accidents” and suggested that if the country must explore the option it must ensure it sites the plants near Cameroun, Chad or Niger republic.

According to him, France sited its nuclear power plants near its German borders.
Meanwhile, the leadership of the Conference yesterday complained of frequent and sometimes unnecessary point of order, which sometimes do not allow for contribution during debates on very serious issues, adding that 30 delegates who had registered their names to speak yesterday could not do so.

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