By Dapo Akinrefon
THE United Niger Delta Energy Development Security Strategy, UNDEDSS, on Monday, said there is a calculated attempt to single out the Niger Delta by using the ongoing Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, probe to distract Nigerians from the corruption in the system, saying enough is enough.
It also called on the Federal Government to start treating every zone of the country equitably “or lose the moral right to demand full acquiescence to its leadership status.”
In a statement by its Secretary, Mr. Tony Uranta, UNDEDSS said: “Enough is Enough. The Niger Delta is totally disappointed with the Federal Government’s style of governance that is brazenly nepotistic, and which denies all Nigerian citizens, who do not belong to the President’s ethnic group, the right to justice and a level playing field, both in terms of appointments/employment and punishment/rule of law.
“UNDEDSS has noted, with dismay, what Niger Delta citizens are all terming the calculated attempts to single out the region for putative anti-corruption actions that fill the news spaces, and distract all Nigerians from the absolutely mind-boggling acts of corruption that are evident in reported Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government, with especial reference to the sleaze in the NNPC, North East Development Commission, NEDC, the EFCC, among others.
“The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, spent about $42 billion (N15.21trn) on fuel importation between 2013 and 2018.
“This amount is capable of building about 14 refineries with average capacities of 100,000 barrels of crude oil per day at an estimated cost of $3 billion if well managed, or three of Dangote Refinery, which is 650,000 barrels per day.
“These should be the priority focus areas of the Federal Government now. UNDEDSS supports the Federal anti-corruption war even in the Niger Delta, but knows that certain individuals are attempting to over-focus a media war against the NDDC in an attempt to obfuscate the crazily greater evidence of corruption, mostly ongoing and even by some Presidency officials.”
On the ongoing war between the NDDC and the National Assembly, UNDEDSS lamented that “the Federal Government owes the Niger Delta over N3 trillion in unmet statutorily mandatory payments by the Federal Government to the region via the NDDC
“We are demanding that the Federal Government immediately releases the N20 billion approved by President Buhari for work by Julius Berger Plc, for the vital overdue East-West Road; while the unfettered carrying out of the forensic audit ordered by Mr. President by the current IMC be continued, allowing the IMC itself to be audited likewise at the end of its tenure in December 2020, as constituted.
“Nobody says don’t audit everyone; what we are opposed to is the glaring bid to deploy a NASS/media war against the region, so as to distract Nigerians from the bigger thieves in the system,
including the looters who are now being exposed regularly as clogs in the path of national development, due to their greed and sleaze.”
Uranta, howeveŕ, warned the Federal Government of the dangers of continuing marginalisation and disregard for the Niger Delta and its leaders, “because new dangerous agitation is building up in the region, and how the Federal Government deals with us strategically going forward may make a big difference in outcomes.
“We are concerned with reports of the deteriorating political climate in Edo State and are disappointed with the role played by some political actors in the state.
“We are especially concerned with allegations of interference by security forces in political matters, which we will continue to monitor closely in the run-up to governorship elections in the state in September.
“The President, not the Vice President who has lost credibility in the region, must urgently reach out to the constituted leadership of the Niger Delta, led by Edwin Clark, to ameliorate the many anomalies that threaten peace and stability in the region.
“No more sabre rattling, because the Nigerian military deployed to the region is one of the most corrupt institutions in Nigeria. Nobody trusts them.”