Abuja: The people of Ndokwa have called on the Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osibanjo, to visit Ndokwa nation, in line with his recent ground-breaking, fact finding tour of the Niger Delta region, in order to get first-hand information on the deprivation and marginalization of the area, after more than 50 years of Oil and Gas exploration.
The call was made by the President General of Ndokwa Neku Union, (NNU), High Chief Johnson Opone, when he led a delegation comprising other Executive members of the Union, as well as the member representing the Ndokwa/Ukwuani Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Ossai Nicolas Ossai, amongst others, on a visit to the Special Adviser to President Mohammadu Buhari on the Federal Government Amnesty Programme, Brig. General Paul Boroh (RTD), in his office in Abuja, on Monday 13 March 2017.
Chief Opone who noted that the Vice President’s visits to the Niger Delta region has so far impacted positively in the formulation and implementation of several political and economic decisions by the federal government, however stressed that the visits would not achieve the holistic effect intended across the region, if the Vice President does not visit the land and people of Ndokwa nation, to see first-hand, the extent of the neglect, under-development and degradation which the area has suffered over the years.
The NNU President General commended the Buhari government for continuing with the Amnesty Programme, as the decision has brought back peace to the region and ensured the continued engagement and empowerment of the restive youths, even as he assured the Federal Government of the commitment of Ndokwa nation to maintain the peace and maturity which the people of Ndokwa have exhibited in their agitation for greater attention and development for the area.
“We assure you that our people will continue to exhibit maturity in our agitation to readdress the marginalization of our people over the years”, he said.
While reminding the Federal Government that Ndokwa people have never disrupted or damaged any government property in the cause of their agitation for over 50 years, High Chief Opone urged the government to see this as a show of good faith and reciprocate the gesture, not only by visiting the area but also accelerating the development processes, especially in the amnesty programme, which Ndokawa nation has yearned for over the years.
“We expect the federal government to reciprocate our peaceful nature by integrating Ndokwa nation in all the programs of the Presidential Amnesty Programmes such as Skill Acquisition, Scholarship, Graduate training programs, Mentoring and Post Empowerment programs”.
In his own comments, the member representing the Ndokwa/Ukwuani Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, Rt. Hon Ossai Nicolas Ossai decried the neglect of the area and called for urgent attention to compensate the people of Ndokwa, even as he charged the federal government to, as a matter of urgency, implement the stepping down of the power from the Okpai Independent Power Project in Ndokwa East and also establish a Federal Government skills acquisition centre in any part of Ndokwa nation.
Hon ossai equally appealed to the office of the Federal Government Amnesty Programme to ensure that the NNU is always carried along in decisions about the Niger Delta region, as the umbrella body and mouth piece of Ndokwa nation.
Responding to the requests from the people of Ndokwa, Brig. General Paul Tarela Boroh described the visit as a welcome initiative in the collective effort to commence and consolidate the synergy between his office and the people of Ndokwa and while decrying the uncoordinated nature of various lists of Amnesty beneficiaries from Ndokwa nation already forwarded to his office, affirmed that the Vice President had already given the directive that all the lists should be harmonized for effective and comprehensive implementation.
“It is worrisome to see different lists from different groups and individuals from Ndokwa, we had been asked to harmonize the lists. And we will do that,” Boroh assured his visitors confidently.
The NNU delegation led by High Chief Johnson Opone, also included the first Vice President, NNU, Chief K.C Daphey, the Secretary General, Pastor Jonathan Dike, the Youth Leader, Comrade Lucky Onyia, a representative of the Ndoshimili Development Union, (NDU), and the Publisher of Ndokwa Reporter, Mr Emmanuel Enebeli.
Reported by Emmanuel Enebeli