Traditional leaders and some other indigenes of Nigeria’s Niger Delta have presented 16 things they are confident will end militancy and bring development in the region if the government will consider them. They presented the requests to President Muhammadu Buhari at a meeting held on Tuesday in Abuja.
They want the government to empower its people through training, open up the economy of the region through adequate investment in infrastructure and cleaning up of oil spills that have affected their farmlands and waters among others.
- Pull the army out from the region
- Order oil firms to move headquarters there
- Oil firms to employ more of its youths
- More funds for the development
- More funds for the amnesty plan for ex fighters
- Empower its people through training
- Adequate investment in infrastructure
- Cleaning up of oil spills
King Diete-Spiff said: “The list also includes the withdrawal of the military in oil producing communities in the region. “We don’t want the communities militarised”. They also want firms to move headquarters to the region so unemployed youths – who often work for militants – could get more jobs. Foreign firms active in Nigeria are often based in the commercial capital Lagos.
The Niger Delta leaders also asked for more funds for the development and an amnesty plan for ex-fighters which Buhari had planned to cut, which has upset the militants. President Buhari had in May sent in army reinforcements to hunt down militants, a move that stoked anger, triggering more attacks on oil installations in the region, with a demand for more share of the oil revenue.
The meeting became necessary, after months of attacks on oil facilities, brought down crude oil output and dipped the nation’s revenue. On his part the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, expressed joy that leaders in the region had come to put the demands forward, said that crude oil production in Nigeria had appreciated to 2.1 million barrels per day following the peace that was gradually returning to the region.
He has a responsibility to ensure that Nigeria meets its quota in the oil market and he observed that relative peace was necessary to achieve it.