The President, Niger Delta Youth Association, NDYA, worldwide, Comrade Victor James, met on a closed door meeting with the British Member of Parliament for Plymouth Sutton & Devonport, Oliver Colvile. Where he presented papers on ‘Degradation and deprivation of and in the Niger Delta, act now before it is too late’.
The meeting with the conservative MP was in view of the corruption attached to the Ogoni clean-up and other related Niger Delta oil spills following report from the spokesperson for the group, Comrade Gaberiel Partterson.
It is no longer news that the Niger Delta Region has witnessed severe environmental, human, infrastructural, economic and social degradation and deprivation. This trend has worsened under the current administration. The reason is that under the previous administration led by President Dr Goodluck Jonathan, there was serious commitment by the federal government through the ‘Ministry for Niger Delta and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)’ for the overall advancement and development of the region.
Upon assumption of the current administration and following all the campaign promises which gave a high pedigree of expectation and hope to the people of the region, however, since the 29th of May 2015, federal commitment to the region in terms of its overall development plummeted to an alarming degree.
There are so many questions begging for answers and patience of the people of the region is running out with particular respect to the youths of the region who currently suffers economic, social and physical harassment from the federal government.
One of the most challenging issues in the Niger Delta is the cleaning up of toxic pollutants disparaging the soil and waters of the region occasioned by years of oil and gas seismic exploration, exploitation and production of both multinational and indigenous oil/gas and technical companies operation in the region.
This ceaseless and persistent occurrence has terribly and severely disavowed any meaningful agro-economic activities that could be reasonably engaged in by youths particularly young graduates from the region.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) released an alarming report that the entire Niger Delta region is polluted but sadly, little has been done to clean up this menace to human habitation and progress. The federal government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR promised to pursue the clean-up process vigorously nevertheless; it is a shame that the clean-up so much so campaigned by his administration never made any provision in the 2016 as well as 2017 budgets for the clean-up programme.
Comrade Victor James who have publically written about the separation of religion & ethnicity from politics of Nigeria as to enable equity and the rule of law cum development. However, he added that to permit justice, environmentalism and development for the people of Niger Delta, there should be ‘Stabilization Clauses’ by the I.O.C (International Oil Companies). A clause, which often included in a host government agreement (HGA) or other international investment agreement that addresses how changes in law following the execution of the HGA are to be treated and the extent to which these changes modify the rights and obligations of the foreign investors under the HGA. A stabilization clause is a means for foreign investors to mitigate or manage the political risks associated with their project.
‘‘Yes, I repeat, I trust nobody within the current politics of Nigeria. Our politicians in Niger Delta and federal government are having a side deal with the IOC and pretending as if they care for the common man in Niger Delta.’’
He demonstrated some of the threat discovered by Niger Delta Youth Association
‘‘Engr. Ibinabo Bob-Manuel is passionate about the environment of the Niger Delta. She is the current Chairlady of Niger Delta youth Association for United State chapter, and a Cyber Security Analyst, and currently a postgraduate research student on Cyber-Economics and Incentives. Her desire is to make the internet safe and the environment smart for everybody. According to her, as oil spills continue devastating the Niger Delta region, she lists four impacts of environmental degradation in the Niger Delta.
•Negative Impact On human Health
Air pollution (e.g. gas flaring and other toxic air pollutants) causes asthma, pneumonia, and other respiratory diseases. Many people in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria have died over the five (5) decades due to the effects of air pollution, and yet the region is without adequate health care facilities.
•Loss Of Biodiversity
Biodiversity helps to maintain the balance of the ecosystem by restoring soil nutrients, protecting water sources, and stabilising the climate. Since there is little or no biodiversity in the region, the waters have become undrinkable, and marine life is progressively getting extinct. This is one of the reasons why the Niger Delta is currently experiencing the impact of global warming, and climate change.
• Loss of Tourism Industry
The Niger Delta region used to be the hub of tourism in Nigeria until recently. The change is as a result of the deterioration of the environment. Consequently, the Niger Delta region has also lost valuable foreign exchange that could have accrued to the states from tourism.
The cost of cleaning up oil spillage, and stopping of gas flaring is usually high. In most cases, the clean-up period could exceed a decade, and it is very capital intensive. These have negative impacts on the economy of the Niger Delta.
Pollution, including noise pollution, brings about the degradation of the environment as a result of the activities of oil and gas companies. It is interesting to note that the Niger Delta region provides 70% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria, and yet, the people live with severe ecological problems and suffer the impact of the degradation of their environment.
At this juncture, it is pertinent to suggest that the Federal Government of Nigeria, in collaboration with the oil and gas exploration and production companies, as well as key stakeholders, particularly the host communities in the Niger Delta, should come together, and find a way forward on how these environmental risks should be mitigated, as well as provide a better lease of life for the people of the Niger Delta. Effective actions are also needed to provide appropriate environmental education to the local communities in order to help safeguard their environment for future generations.
As it stands today, the youths of the region has in no little way lost confidence in this administration and its ability to deliver on both its campaign promises and that of basic reasonable necessity because aside the federal government’s failure to embark on the clean-up programme, it has politicized the ministry and agencies established to better the lives of the people and of the region wherefore nothing is happening in the region therefore the youths of the region ably led by the Niger Delta Youth Association World Wide (NDYA) in partnership with many other youth and professional organizations throughout the region and beyond to seek justice for the people of Niger Delta’’.
Oliver Colvile has represented the South West constituency of Plymouth Sutton & Devonport since 2010. Following his re-election in 2015, he was appointed as the Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Ministers of State at the Ministry of Defence. In July 2016, Oliver was appointed as PPS to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
He was first selected for the then-Plymouth Sutton seat in 2000, and fought the seat in at the 2001 and 2005 elections before being elected in 2010. In the 1980s and early 90s, Oliver was the Conservative Party’s Election Agent in the London Borough of Merton, where he successfully ran the Parliamentary elections for Dame Angela Rumbold. After leaving the professional staff of the Conservative Party, he set up his own communications business, giving advice to local developers on community cohesion and planning issues.
In Parliament, Oliver is the Chairman of the APPG for South West Rail, as well we the APPG for the Built Environment and has led the calls for consumer rights by campaigning for the Government to set up a New Homes Ombudsman to protect homebuyers. Outside of Parliament, Oliver is a member of the MCC and is also the Vice-President of Plymouth Albion RFC. He lives in Stonehouse in Plymouth.