The United Niger Delta Energy Development Security Strategy, (UNDEDSS) has said that any moves by the national assembly to continue with the amendment process of the reintroduced controversial Water Resources bill would be resisted with every iota of its might.
UNDEDSS made the vow in a statement by its Secretary General, Tony Uranta after an emergency meeting held in Warri Creeks of the Niger Delta on Tuesday.
Describing the bill as ‘diabolical’ , the Niger Delta group said that the federal government must come to realise that no part of Nigeria is a conquered province, and that the erstwhile insults heaped on the Niger Delta must end forthwith!.
The Niger Delta coalition of action civil society declared in the statement issued by Uranta, that the Niger Delta has for too long been the whipping boy of Nigeria.
According to UNDEDSS, “whenever any national leader wants to appear to be serious about the war against corruption, the focus is the Niger Delta, its governors et al.
“Then you will hear questions like, ‘What have you used the 13% derivative for?’ Nobody asks what has been derived from the 87% that goes to the rest of the country, even though over 95% of revenues come from our bastardized and despoliated waters and land!
“For example, recently the NDDC has come under unnecessarily excessive fire, not because its corruption is worse, but because everybody seeks to sweep under the carpet the comparatively obscenely humongous amounts being looted via the NNPC, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, the North East Development Commission, the CBN,the FIRS, to name a few MDAs being looted by parties close to Mr. President and the National Assembly Leadership!”
Continuing, UNDEDSS said, “We have said ad nauseam that we know that Niger Delta leaders are as corrupt as virtually all other leaders are, but that we expect that what is good for the goose that lays the golden eggs for all, must be good for the parasitic ganders that contribute next to nothing to the national GDP! Yet nobody listens to the region, not even our erstwhile friend the new Chief of Staff!”
“And, now, to rub insult into our injuries, the FGN thinks we shall let it take over our ancestral waters and lands”, Uranta queries, saying, “they may rig the NASS, but we shall call on every ally within and outside the country to resist these diabolical amendments! Many forget how far-reaching our tentacles really are, inside and outside Nigeriaand. May we never need to remind them.”
Mr. Uranta agonised that “Appointments are made onto bodies that exist ostensibly for the region’s good without inputs from our key political, traditional or socio-cultural leaders, and even the NDDC still has Board members who are not even remotely connected to the region. Yet, no Niger Deltan is on, say, the North East Development Commission NEDC Board, nor are strategically and adequately represented on the oil and gas bodies that owe more than 95% existence to the region! Enough is enough.”
UNDEDSS concluded by demanding that the FGN immediately implements the 16-point 2016 Agreement between it and the region as reached in several meetings between the President and both UNDEDSS and PANDEF, led by Uranta and Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark respectively.
“UNDEDSS warns that should the FGN not show a willingness, before the end of 14days from the date of this statement, to dynamically embrace the region, via its leaders, it shall withdraw from the unilateral ceasefire in the region, which it helped broker, and leave the FGN to get itself out of the morass that will ensue!
It would be recalled that since the introduction of the bill, several prominent Nigerians including Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, different groups including respected social crusaders and activist have opposed the bill on various grounds. Specifically, Prof Soyinka had advised the Federal government to drop the idea of the bill, alleging that it is anti-people.