An appeal has gone to the Federal Government not to be used by any group or person to bring hostilities to the Niger Delta, but should rather recognize and encourage those whose activities help to sustain the already existing peace in the area to ensure that the Maritime University Okerenkoko maintain and retain the Acts and purpose for which it was established.

National Coordinator, Center for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ) and the Chairman of Kokodiagbene community in Gbaramutu Kingdom, High Comrade Sheriff Mulade described as unfortunate the continued animosities between the people of Ijaw and Itsekiri over a parcel of land already earmarked by the Federal government for building the multi billion naira Export Processing Zone EPZ, saying that the communities should give peace a chance to enable the accelerated development of the Niger Delta region.

Mulade who spoke when he hosted the Executive Members of the Indigenous Correspondents Chapel (ICC) of the Nigerian Union of Journalists ( NUJ ) Delta State, regretted that while communal crisis festers in the Niger Delta Region, the governors have become major beneficiaries of the security votes.

“The bane of our development is ethnic crisis and there are initiators of these crisis. Government is a great beneficiary of crises because of security votes given to them. South South Governors are great beneficiaries of such votes which gives birth to crises.” the rights activist stated.

Reacting to the report of an alleged plan by the Federal Government to rename the Maritime University Okerenkoko, Warri South West LGA, and transform it into an institution that will award National Diploma, Degree or Higher National Diploma instead of the original plans, Mulade urged the Federal Government or those behind the purported plans, to abort such dreams or risk the wrath of the Ijaw nation.

He described the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as a political commission to settle political issues, noting that the commission is entitled to a three percent budget from oil multi nationals.

Speaking further on how to address the multifaceted challenges confronting the oil region, ravaged by ecological degradation coupled with communal crises, Mulade said that if the leaders are genuinely committed to development of the region, setting up a commission would not be necessary since there were no projects executed in the coastal areas, adding that Gbaramutu community hosts over two hundred oil wells yet there were no projects from any of the interventionist agencies, whose headquarters are all in Abuja.

Mulade equally lamented the failures of the traditional institutions caused by their dependence on government stipends as well as the greed of some of the rulers, but however urged government to stop relegating the monarchs even as he advised the traditional rulers to confine themselves to their thrones and shun politics.

On how to solve the problems of the Niger Delta Region, he said; “I strongly believe that we can prepare the next generation of our youths to recognize and embrace the challenges ahead. We need to prepare ourselves, we have enormous challenges in the region. We must speak out against bad government. There are basic issues government does not need to campaign with. Delta state is backward, it will take it 25 years to catch up with other states. Does Asaba look like a capital city? Delta State resources are being wasted,” by the government,” Mulade opined.

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