• en

Niger Delta Avengers’ Threat Unnecessary, Says Presidency

The Presidency Sunday described as unnecessary, the threat by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) to bomb oil installations if some of their demands are not met by the federal government.

Muhammadu Buhari

The Presidency Sunday described as unnecessary, the threat by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) to bomb oil installations if some of their demands are not met by the federal government.

It, however, said it was curious that the threat came barely 48 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari met with the leadership of the Niger Delta and Ijaw National Congress (INC), at the State House, Abuja during which they discussed crucial issues, especially the call for restructuring of the federation and the inauguration of a board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

A statement Sunday by the media adviser to the president, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the media was sunday awash with threats and demands by Niger Delta Avengers to embark on economic sabotage through the bombing of critical oil and gas installations unless certain demands, including the development of the Niger Delta, and restructuring were met.

Adesina said for clarity and record purposes, the full text of the speech by President Buhari on Thursday, June 25, 2021, had rendered “any sabre-rattling rather unnecessary.”

He quoted the president as saying during his meeting with the leaders of the Niger Delta that “as the symbol of the collective voice of the Ijaw people, which is one of Nigeria’s main ethnic groups, the existence of a focused and people-oriented leadership would go a long way in articulating the demands of the Ijaw people and make sure these demands are made part of the national discourse.”

Buhari, according to his spokesman, also said that he noted the 10- point demand to the federal government in the inaugural speech of the leaders and promised that “this administration is frontally addressing them.”

Adesina added that Buhari also stated that he was concerned about the rate of environmental degradation in the Niger Delta, and informed his visitors that “as you are aware the hydrocarbon pollution remediation project has started work with remediation efforts in Ogoni land and I have directed the Minister of Environment to ensure that the projects are implemented with a high percentage of local content and inclusion of the surrounding communities”.

In addition, Buhari told his visitors that the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency was working to make sure that oil spills are reduced and new ones prevented.

Buhari had told Niger Delta leaders that all the agencies of government had been directed to ensure that they enforce compliance by the international oil companies (IOCs) to international best practices.

“In addressing your call for immediate restructuring, the National Assembly whose responsibility it is to ensure that our constitution responds to the call for a restructured Nigeria has already concluded regional consultations and as soon as they finalise the process, necessary action would not be delayed on my part,” Adesina quoted Buhari as saying.

He added that the president had also reminded the leaders that their call for the creation of two additional states and more local government areas for the Ijaw people was a legislative matter, which should be handled by the National Assembly and seeking concurrence at the state levels.

“I completely agree with your call to allocate operational licences for marginal fields to Ijaw people. However, as you know, the process of granting licences is guided by laid down rules and regulations, most of which even favour local content and local contractors. I see no reason why they should not be granted such licences if they qualify,” Adesina quoted Buhari as saying.

On the issue of fair and balanced appointments to reflect federal character principles, Buhari was said to have re-affirmed that this had always been his focus and would continue to be because he had always seen Nigeria as a country where everyone should be given equal opportunities.

The president, according to Adesina, had also promised that as soon as the forensic audit report of the NDDC was submitted and accepted, the NDDC board would be inaugurated.

Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano, Laleye Dipo in Minna, Daji Sani in Yola and Igbawase Ukumba in Lafia