By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah, Abuja
Following renewed threats by Niger Delta Avengers to resume bombing of oil and gas pipelines, the minister of Niger Delta affairs Usani Usani has pleaded for patience.
Speaking with State House Correspondents after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, he restated the commitment of the federal government in developing the Niger Delta region which the Niger Delta avengers are also demanding.
According to him” My message is not just verbal but it has been demonstrated by the fact at all times, the government of which I am part, my role as minister in charge of the region, we have been appealing with them to just be patient with us, because, most of the time, the issues that are brought up are those that tend to portray the quest for development of the region.
“And that is all we have been doing to say, patiently with us, these issues raised genuinely to the benefits of people of the region are being attended to. For instance, the Okerekoko University, you are aware that the Vice President has directed that that University must take off.
“And he also directed that a minimum of N5billion be budgeted for the take off the University so, it’s a matter of patience knowing that some of these things have a procedure, so it will not be because it did not happen the way they wanted so it will not happen. Everything has a phase of planning and a phase of execution.
“Well, we glad so far that all parties have listened to one another. Government, Avengers, Elders and so on. We would wish that this continues so, we would advise all of us to remain to calm and see the things that we agitated for coming little by little.
On claims by the Avengers that government has failed in its promises to them, he said “The first question which talks about all the promises that have been made are not seen is not correct. I just talked about the University. The other issue is the communities being part of surveillance of the petroleum infrastructure in the region.
” And of course you know that by the modular refineries which they had also talked about as sub-sect of how they can be engaged instead of what is called illegal refineries. They are also on, because the process of building a refinery or even getting the necessary procedures to establish such is not just a one day business.
He added that “Advertisements have been made, people have indicated interest and of course, to get it sustainable, the government is having the state governments involved but privately driven so that all concerned will be on a common page to be able to be sure that when ever it takes off, there is no frustration or sabotage.
“Then your second question of meeting with the Avengers,. For us as a government, there hasn’t been any group from the region that intended to meet with any arm of government that has been rebuffed. So, if any people make such overtures, we happy to receive them. We have been receiving different groups. W are not limiting our dialogue or discussions to any particular group so any body that says he is relevant in the process and comes forth,” he stated.
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