The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide on Saturday asked President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the multinational oil companies doing business in the Niger Delta to set up special funds for the region’s development.
IYC said the call became necessary following recent directive by the Federal Government, asking multinational oil companies to send funds to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North East.
The government reportedly asked the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), National Petroleum Investment Management Service (NAPIMS) and other petroleum industry operators to contribute at least $100million annually to the IDP’s intervention fund.
The Spokesman of IYC, Mr. Daniel Dasimake, appealed to President Buhari to extend the similar gesture to the Niger Delta people.
Dasimaka, in a statement on Saturday, noted that Ijaw youths were not averse to the development of any region in Nigeria, but said it was just fair and equitable for oil companies to be part of the Niger Delta development.
He said Niger Delta deserves better attention from oil firms, whose activities had impacted negatively on the region.
Dasimaka said: “Although the North East is a victim of its own destruction, Ijaws have nothing against any plans to help IDPs and to develop the region.
”However, we find it quite traumatic that the government and its agencies that have never considered for over 60 years, to instruct the oil companies who were ‘devastating’ our once very fertile lands and rivers thereby dislocating our local economies, are today instructing IOCs to contribute to the development of the North East which was destroyed by its own homegrown terrorism.
”But at the same time, the Federal Government has remained mute about the development of the Niger Delta where the oil companies get the resources that are being directed to be siphoned to the North East. It is a known historical truth that the Niger Delta has suffered far worse than the IDPs in the North East.
“We are therefore calling on President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu, Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and the heads of all relevant agencies overseeing the oil and gas as well as maritime industry in Nigeria to instruct all operators in these sectors to contribute to the development of the Niger Delta.
”Although, we are aware that the NNPC/NAPIMS’s directive is another wealth transfer scheme, given that the Federal Government will share in the contributions based on its equity stake in the joint venture operations.
“We are therefore calling on the Federal Government to also compel the oil companies to extend such intervention to settle and rehabilitate the IDPs in many Ijaw communities that have been devastated by reprisals from the Nigerian military.
”Also, the gesture should be extended to the people of Bakassi, who are Nigeria’s first IDPs as well as IDPs in the Middle Belt who have been displaced by the Fulani herdsmen menace. We are aware that the NNPC is the Federal Government’s concessionaire in the oil ventures, and would inevitably pay from its share as part of the operating cost for the year.”
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