As part of efforts to stop the lingering crisis in the Niger Delta region, President Muhammadu Buhari met leaders and traditional rulers from the region on Tuesday, November 1.
The meeting was held to discuss the issue of militancy and security in the region which has led to a sharp decline in oil production and affected Nigeria’s earnings.
Below are the 16 demands the Niger Delta people want for peace to be restored in the oil-rich region.
1. Inclusive participation in oil industry and ownership of oil blocs
The people are demanding that the federal government include the region in the sharing and ownership of the oil blocs in the country. They want policies and actions that will address the lack of participation, as well as the imbalance in the ownership of oil and gas assets to be affirmed.
2 The presidential amnesty programme
The oil-rich region is asking for a review of the programme to reappraise its core mandate to provide a robust exit strategy. The people want the government to make provisions for jobs for the ex-militants after the programme. This will effectively integrate them and wean them off dependency on stipends so that their new-found skills would be of benefit to themselves and the larger community.
3. Law and Justice
The Niger Delta people want the federal government to address a number of pending law and justice issues regarding some aggrieved groups and individuals. by the people of the Niger Delta, under the aegis of Pan-Niger Delta Forum.
4. Relocation of the administrative and operational headquarters of the IOCs
They want the headquarters of major International Oil Companies (IOCs) to be moved to the Niger Delta region as most are located outside the region. According to them, this deprives the people of all the developmental and associated benefits that would have accrued to the region from their presence. Moving the headquarters to the Niger Delta region would create a mutually beneficial relationship with the host communities.
5. The effect of increased military presence in the Niger Delta
The people are asking the government to halt the escalation of tension in the region which is caused by the increase in military presence. They listed the effects of the increased military presence in the region to include invasion of communities, displacement of persons, harassment and other forms of human rights abuses.
6. Plight of internally displaced persons
The oil-rich region wants the relevant government agencies to take urgent measures in meeting the immediate needs of those displaced by the upsurge of insecurity in the region.
7. The Ogoni clean-up and environmental remediation
The people of Niger Delta are demanding that the government speed up the clean-up exercise and also enforce the zero gas flare deadline. The government has been asked to urgently tackle the devastating effects of coastal erosion and lack of an effective shoreline protection for the coastal communities. They also asked that the federal government commission a region-wide credible assessment of the impact of crude oil pollution on the environment in the region and undertake to enforce environmental laws.
8. The Maritime University
The Niger Delta people want the Niger Delta University to take-off promptly.
9. Key regional critical infrastructure
The region is asking for the completion of the East-West road and full implementation of the rail project that is designated to run through the Niger Delta region to Lagos.
10. Security surveillance and protection of oil and gas infrastructure
The people are asking for pipeline surveillance contracts to be given to the communities rather than to individuals in a manner that will be beneficial to their responsibility. This way, communities would see their responsibility over the pipelines as protection of what belongs to them.
11. Power Supply
The people of the region advocated a power plan that strongly ties power supply in the region to gas supply, thereby giving all sides a stake in proved stability.
12. Economic development and empowerment
The Niger Delta wants Brass LNG and a fertiliser plant, including the Train 7 of Nigeria LNG implemented; a review and update of the national gas master plan to integrate the economic interests and industrialisation of the region; the creation of a Niger Delta industrial corridor that would process some portions of the hydrocarbon natural resources; expedited work on the export processing zones; and the harnessing of the huge rain-fed agricultural potential of the area through the development of farm estates, fishery development projects and agro-allied industrial clusters, etc.
13. Restructuring and funding of the NDDC
The communities want to have a say in what projects come to them and also want full implementation of the funding provisions of the NDDC Act.
14. Strengthening the Niger Delta Ministry
The people are asking for the ministry to be adequately funded and strengthened to fulfill the purpose for which it was created.
15. The Bakassi question
The region wants the government to look into a comprehensive resettlement plan for Bakassi indigenes who have been displaced. The plan should include development for the host communities and displaced population to reduce the risk of making them into stateless persons.
16. Fiscal federalism
The Niger Delta people expressed their support for the call for true federalism. They called on the federal government to treat the matter speedily.