There are strong indications that Niger Delta elders, leaders and stakeholders have collectively rejected a move to launch a $10 billion (N4 trillion) infrastructural rebirth investment programme in the area by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government.
This comes on the heels of a meeting scheduled to hold between the Niger Delta leaders and President Buhari at the presidential villa today, October 31.
The Niger Delta elders explained that it would be blackmail for the Niger Delta people to accept the proposal as they were not consulted before the decision was taken and announced, adding that the people were supposed to have been carried along and their contributions obtained because they are aware of the problems of the region.
The proposal of the multi-trillion naira programme is part of the Short and Medium Term Priorities to Grow Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Industry (2015 to 2019), tagged the ‘7 BigWins’, a new initiative of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
The elders dismissed the proposal as a mere blackmail since there is no money to fund it, adding that is of maximum importance to inform President Buhari that they are not going to accept the move because it is private sector-driven with the aim of dragging the government into it.
The elders said:
“At the end of the day, other Nigerians will say why complain when you have $10 billion and the money is not there in the first place. If the companies have such money, they should pay the money owed the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, rather than blackmail the region with such money.”
These among other matters would be raised at the meeting with the Buhari today. These were also some of the decisions taken at the end of a meeting which took place at the residence of Chief Edwin Clark in Asokoro, Abuja in the early hours of Saturday.
The meeting with Buhari was necessitated by the endless bombing of oil and gas facilities by Niger Delta militants which has crippled oil production and reduced the country’s exportation.