’50 years counting, we’ve been denied opportunity to control our resources, environments’
A former presidential aspirant of Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, Worldwide, Mayor Ala Hart, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to address the ongoing agitations by the Niger Delta people to control their resource and protect their environment, stressing that, for over five decades they been conveniently ignored.
He also congratulate President Buhari for granting resource control to some states in the North, including his home state of Katsina and Osun state.
Mayor call was contained in a statement made available to GbaramatuVoice.
According to him, “In all fairness, the PAGMI policy is one of the most proactive initiatives that has been put in place by the Muhammad Buhari led administration since its inception in 2015. Over the years, Nigerians have been calling for fiscal federalism, resource control, and today the president through the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Initiative has made that call a reality and I and the people of the Niger Delta are excited about this initiative.
“However, it is noteworthy that the Niger Delta region has been agitating to control their resources and protect their environment for over five decades and has been conveniently ignored.
‘Within this time, Ken Saro-Wiwa, and environmental rights activists from Ogoni, in Rivers state was murdered, Oporoza, the headquarters of the Gbaramatu Kingdom in Delta State was attacked by the Nigerian state and people murdered, Odi in Bayelsa state (Odi massacre) was razed down.
“And my question why is it ok for kaduna, and katsina states to refine gold with the support of the full federal government, yet considered an absurdity for crude to be refined in Bayelsa, Rivers, and Delta states?
“Why is it ok for those who have never asked to be granted such autonomy to have it yet the people whose environment has been degraded, whose people have been killed, raped, ignored?
“Why is it ok for the people of the Niger Delta to receive 13% of their resources whilst those in kaduna and katsina takes all.
‘What is more interesting about the PAGMI is that the document encourages illegal miners to continue in their activities and sell the proceeds to CBN, yet bunkering is considered illegal.
‘Why should the implementation of the land use act exclusive to the Niger Delta region and not to the illegal miners in Zamfara and Kaduna?
‘The Niger delta environment is polluted because of the highhandedness of security operatives in our water ways chasing illegal bunkering.
“Furthermore, a recent investigation carried out by the Stakeholders Democracy Network indicates that crude refined in the Niger Delta is cleaner than those imported for use locally
“We therefore call on Mr President to introduce resource control uniformly because we are one Nigeria therefore resource ownership shouldn’t be exclusive to one part of the country.”