Niger Delta minister meets Buhari, begs Avengers for patience
Niger Delta minister meets Buhari begs Avengers for patience
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Usani, on Monday met behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said the government was also committed to the development of the region which the Avengers are also demanding.
The minister said, “My message (to the Niger Delta Avengers) is not just verbal but it has been demonstrated at all times.
“We have been appealing to 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 the development of the region.
“That is all we have been doing to say, be patient with us, these issues raised genuinely to the benefits of people of the region are being attended to.”
For instance, Usani recalled that Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had directed that the Maritime University, Okerekoko should take off.
He said Osinbajo had also directed that a minimum of N5bn be budgeted for the take off the university.
“So, it is 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,”he added.
While debunking the claims by members of the NDA that the government had not fulfilled its promises to the region, the minister said apart from the maritime university, the government was working on the issue of communities being part of surveillance of the petroleum infrastructure in the region.
He added that the government is working on the modular refineries which they had also talked about as sub-sect of how they can be engaged instead of illegal refineries.
He said the process was ongoing because the process of building a refinery or getting the necessary procedures to establish such is not a one day business.
He added, “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 whenever it takes off, there is no frustration or sabotage.
“For us as a government, there has not 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. We are not limiting our dialogue or discussions to any particular group, so anybody that says he is relevant in the process and comes forth, we are to engage.”
The meeting held at the Presidential Villa was meant to brief the President on ongoing efforts to reposition the oil-r