Following a consultative meeting between Federal Government delegates, South-South Governors, Ministers and stakeholders from the Niger Delta at the Government House in Port Harcourt, a number of demands were raised.
The meeting which held on Tuesday had in attendance, Chief of Staff to Buhari, Ibrahim Gambari, all the six governors from the Niger Delta, Ministers and stakeholders from the region.
The demands of the region was represented by the Chairman of the South-South Governors’ Forum, Ifeanyi Okowa.
Demands raised by the region include immediate relocation of government-owned oil companies from Lagos and Abuja to the region, Immediate completion of the East-West road, privatisation of the two refineries in Port Harcourt and the one in Warri for effectiveness, reactivation of the Port Harcourt, Warri and Calabar seaports, NDDC projects being done in collaboration with state governments and finally, true federation.
According to the South-South leaders, true federalism, fair revenue sharing and State Police, are recipes for achieving a better Nigeria.
“For us in the South-South, the #ENDSARS protest
is a metaphor of almost all that is wrong with us, our refusal to properly understand issues, and imbibe and entrench the virtues of justice, fairness, and equity.
“The previous system of true federalism was jettisoned and it created a powerful centre controlling and distributing all the resources unevenly.
“There was now a strong desire to restructure the country to guarantee peace, security, stability, and progress of the nation. The region demands true federalism and devolution of powers to the states, including creating and managing their police and security architecture, true fiscal federalism guided by the principle of derivation, revenue sharing and control of resources by each state.”
Okowa further condemned the neglect of the South-South region even as they have been faced with massive environmental degradation, flooding and land pollution, owing to hydrocarbon deposits.
“All we demand and ask for is fairness and equity and as we await actions to restructure the country, we hereby renew our demands for: ‘The relocation of the headquarters of major oil companies in Nigeria to the region; relocation of several NNPC subsidiaries from Lagos and Abuja to the region.
“The region further requested the completion without delay of the East-West Road and all federal roads in the region; Construction of the Lagos-Calabar railway, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of the region’s major seaports notably the Port Harcourt, Calabar, and Warri,” Okowa added.
After expressing regrets on the federal government delegates’ inability to attend the meeting which scheduled for last week, Prof. Gambari said:
“We are here on behalf of the President as part of the ongoing and continuing conversation on how to make our nation better and I must thank the Governor of Delta, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, for his tireless effort in ensuring that this meeting held.
“Our youths took to the streets to express their bitterness on ill-treatment meted out to them by the police and the President, recognising the importance of the demands made by the protesters, agreed to implement the five demands.
“All over the world, people have the right to protest but in doing so, the respect for law and order must be adhered to and they must also respect the rights of others.
“The President commends governors, traditional rulers and other stakeholders for their role in handling the protesters.”
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, who was also in attendance decried the losses Nigeria suffered after the #EndSARS protest including the death of civilians and security agents.
reports that the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, gave the vote of thanks, appreciating the federal government delegation for attending the South-South consultative meeting and urging them to speedily implement their demands.