A Niger Delta group, Southern Nigeria Front (SNF) has urged the newly-appointed minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Umana Okon Umana, to engrave into national consciousness the fact that oil exploration which funds Nigeria, has cost the people their lives and livelihoods as their waters and land keep getting polluted through inhuman practices by the oil companies.
The convener of the group Idris Usman in a statement signed yesterday in Abuja said that successive administrations have failed the people of the Niger Delta, keeping them perpetually in penury and undignified living conditions.
“It is however pertinent, to call the minister’s attention to the fact that his appointment, coming so late in the life of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, requires that he keeps the celebratory champagne on ice as there is work to be done and little time with which to get it done.
“The Niger Delta people have paid with their health and predominant occupation of fishing for Nigerian oil exploration, while they have reaped a polluted environment, poverty, and lack of meaningful infrastructure with near total absence of government presence in such a critical area to Nigeria’s existential reality.”
He recalled that the Niger Delta agitation that crystallized into the militancy of the early 2000s, before the administration of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua created the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to warehouse and coordinate the previous interventions created by previous administrations.
He added that the Niger Delta Ministry has failed to deliver over the years and it is this state of affairs that Umana is inheriting and will be expected to improve upon over the next 10 months of the current administration.