Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole and the leadership of the Senate have raised the alarm over what they described as an attempt to destabilise the nation through recent activities of militancy in the Niger Delta and the South-East.
They jointly raised the alarm on Friday in Benin when the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, led a delegation of other members of the Senate on behalf of the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, on a condolence visit to the Governor over the demise of the Benin Monarch, Oba Erediauwa.
Oshiomhole while receiving the delegates in his office, declared that Nigerians must rise up against all ethnic champions, just as he asserted that a united Nigeria is better than a divided nation.
He expressed regrets with the violence being experienced in the region saying it was capable of destroying the economy of the people of the region and the nation as a whole.
“I have had conversation with many of my brothers and sisters in the South-South, trying to convince ourselves that it is up to us to convert our natural endowment to blessing. We can also choose to convert it to burden and that will be a huge shame.
“I believe that pipeline vandalization is like inflicting wounds on one’s own flesh, because my worry for our sub region which I have canvassed severally is that the pollution of today, the kind of revenue we will need to restore the environment by the time the oil well dries up, like our brothers in Jos can testify, the cost of restoring it might be beyond our means.
“So on a good day we all must ensure that those involved in oil exploration stick to international best practices in ensuring that the environment is clean. To compound our problem by breaking pipelines, destroying state assets, holding the country to ransom, only we in the South South will be worst for it.
“Nothing justifies the madness destruction of public property and I hope that our leaders, traditional rulers and community leaders will try to prevail on ourselves to say that these assets are ours, no investor will come to a place that is not safe. It does not matter who is responsible for the insecurity.
“If there is one thing we badly need in the South-South, is to have the real direct foreign and local investments, not only to take crude and export but to reform it and establish petro-chemical industries that will create opportunities so that a lot of things that we are importing today, we can begin to produce them here and even export them. This is the only we will be able to create jobs for our youths.
“I don’t believe that the long term solution is the hand out they call amnesty for our youths, people wants to work and unfortunately these very worrisome headlines coming from these sub region, can only scare away those who are already here not to talk of bringing in new people.
“But I am very proud that on this issue, across the divide I have not heard any one celebrating what is going on. And we should rise to condemn all ethnic champions, whether they are South South or South East or the North, I believe that our diversity is a source of strength,” Oshiomhole said.
They both urged elders and leaders from the zones to rise up and secure the unity of the nation, just as they challenged traditional rulers and leaders across the country to speak out and make positive contributions towards the unity, peace and development of the country especially, considering her present precarious and trying moment.
Earlier, while speaking on behalf of the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, Ekweremadu expressed worries over the number of deaths being recorded both in the Niger Delta and the South East due to the latest uprising by militants in the Niger Delta and agitators of the state of Biafra in the South East.
He said, “We are particularly worried that he (Oba of Benin) is no more at this particular time that we are faced with challenges. We know the role he played in the past, we believe that if he was with us today, he would have helped us in resolving most of the national questions that is confronting us today.
“We are having challenges of insecurity especially in the Niger Delta. We are worried with the resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta. I believe that as leaders in the Niger Delta, we have to come up with solutions as to how to resolve it. Because he who wear the shoes knows where it pinches. We are worried about several conflicts now in the country, we have conflict in the North East, South South and now in the South East.
“We are not only worried in terms of the economic implications but the number of lives being lost because the life of every Nigerian means a lot to us. We are worried about the social implications it means to us as a nation.
“We want to appeal that the best we can do for the late Oba is for the leaders to step up and find solution to the problems. We have had challenges in the past and our forebears were there to resolve the crisis, now that it is our time the people of Nigeria expect us to find brilliant and workable solutions to our national questions. We believe that people like you and our colleagues here will find solution to these problems.”
While eulogising the late Oba whom he described as a “global citizen,” Ekweremadu said; “He was a citizen of Nigeria, he performed his duties beyond the Benin kingdom. He is well known for his exploit in public service, he was indeed a man of peace. We want to assure you that as he mourn we mourned with you, we miss him too and Nigerians will miss him too.”