Neither PIB nor amnesty deal will end militancy in Niger Delta, say Uduaghan
Stakeholders in the Niger Delta, including former Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, believe that neither the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) nor the amnesty programme could tame militancy in the region.
To Uduaghan, “both are important in reducing the militancy.” The spokesman of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Eric Omare, contended that both projects cannot solely address the problem, noting that the two issues do not completely address the underlying issues fuelling the crisis.
His words: “The only issue that can end militancy is for communities to be given an ownership right in the process of oil exploration. Resolution of the resource ownership and control issue is the key to taming militancy in the region.”
Also speaking, the coordinator of Foundation for Human Rights and Anti-Corruption (FHRAC), Alaowei Cleric, who admitted that though the proposed piece of legislation was one of the key demands of the people, he, however, submitted that its eventual passage by the National Assembly would not cure the operational defects in the nation’s oil and gas sector.
He, therefore, made a case for visible participation of the host communities in the sharing of the oil sector’s benefits, just as he called for the expunging of 10 per cent equity for host communities from the proposed law if the crisis was to be addressed.
Cleric went on: “In all, the passage of the bill will calm some frayed nerves. Granting amnesty to the militants is not an end to the crisis. It was just a means to end the crisis. Amnesty is not a solution-bound approach to the crisis. What Niger Delta people want is to exercise control over the resources in their land. The PIB is part of our cardinal demands.”
But the Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark-led Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) in its recent list of demands advised against the scrapping of the amnesty project, urging the Federal Government to instead, increase its budget.
The group premised the appeal on the fact that the programme was central to taming militancy in the area.
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