Tony Ita Etim, Port Harcourt
President Muhammadu Buhari has pleaded with traditional rulers in the Niger Delta to intervene in the resurgence of pipeline vandalism in the region.
Buhari begged traditional rulers and stakeholders in the Niger Delta to find a lasting solution to the incidents of pipeline vandalism and general insecurity in the region.
The Acting Managing Director/CEO, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mrs Ibim Semenitari, disclosed this during a meeting with executive of the Traditional Rulers of Oil Mineral Producing Communities (TROMCON) in Port Harcourt, on Saturday.
According to Semenitari, Buhari wants the royal fathers to engage in five critical areas of curtailing interruptions and community disturbances, engaging and building the culture of community participation in project cycle and project ownership, accelerating efforts to build suitable relationships between contractors and community youths, building a stronger network with security agencies and relevant government institutions to mitigate challenges, and continuing to build peace and understanding among the people.
Semenitari disclosed that President Buhari “has directed that the NDDC quickly intervene and explore every avenue that will help bring back peace and stability” to the Niger Delta.
“This marching order entails that we must immediately swing into action; consulting and negotiating where necessary to ensure there are no further acts of vandalism and criminality in the region.”
Semenitari appealed to the traditional rulers, to engage in serious sensitization of their subjects against oil theft, vandalism and other acts that could cause a breach of security.
“This has become even more critical,” Semenitari lamented, “in view of the dwindling oil revenue and serious economic challenges facing the nation. It, therefore, becomes extremely expedient for us as a people, and as a region, to ensure that our collective wealth and heritage are not further dissipated, and our well-being compromised.”
Semenitari promised to support TROMPCON, as critical partners, in its activities and in the commission’s efforts to facilitate the sustainable development of the Niger Delta.
Responding, the National Chairman of TROMPCON, and the paramount ruler of Ngbirichi in Imo State, Eze Akuwueze Ikegwuruka, assured that the traditional rulers in the region were ready for partnership and collaboration with the NDDC.
Eze Ikegwuruka disclosed tha “TROMPCON has longed to join hands with the NDDC and other development agencies.” He also reaffirmed their stake in the affairs of the Niger Delta.
“It is the view of TROMPCOM that all stakeholders as well as service providers should collaborate to ensure coordinated and accelerated development of the Niger Delta region. This imperative has been underscored in the Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan which provided for Partners for Sustainable Development (PSD) Forum.”
The royal father promised that TROMPCON would do whatever was necessary to ensure the maintenance of peace and provide the conducive environment for the NDDC and other agencies of development, including contractors.
Eze Ikegwuruka announced that the royal fathers would visit the National Assembly to discuss the NDDC budget and rub minds with them to see how to provide more employment opportunities and avoid a situation where contracts were hijacked to the detriment of the people of the Niger Delta.
The royal farther also disclosed that TROMPCON was currently in court with the Federal Government to press home the demand for proper funding of the NDDC in line with the commission’s enabling law.