…Urges Government To be Proactive and be Sensitive to the Plight of Nigerians.
The Delta Online Publishers Forum (DOPF) has proferred solutions to two burning issues in the state and Nigeria in general, which bothers on oil theft and endemic flood menace in the country.
The Publishers gave their suggestions at a Media Hangout where it urged the Federal Government to rise up to its responsibilities towards ensuring adequate protection of lives, property and citizens as well as National Assets for Socio-economic development of the country.
The DOPF media hangout which held on Tuesday, 18th October, 2022 in Asaba, Delta State capital differed on stands by Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana, and Ex- Niger-Delta Militant, Government Ekpemupolo (A.k.a Tompolo) and Security agencies disagreement with them on Oil theft and burning of stolen crude oil, stressing that the Pipeline Surveillance Contracts awarded to Tompolo’s Company is in line with community policing concepts and call for General Irabor’s resignation by Falana, is not the solution to the problem.
Falana, had in an earlier comment, stated that it was criminal for the Nigerian Military to had burnt stolen crude oil and its vessel. He called for the resignation of the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor over the burning of stolen crude oil by the Military and also lambasted the Federal Government and the Ex-Niger Delta Militant, Chief Government Ekpemupolo (A.k.a Tompolo) over the N48B Pipeline Surveillance Contracts awarded to his Company, just like the Arewa Youths and some Governors in the Western Nigeria who joined same call.
Tompolo, and some of his allies had severally defended the contracts award as a good development and the Military on the burning of stolen crude oil.
The discussants led by the Deputy General Manager-Editorial, Pointer Newspaper, Mrs Henrietta Oyahkilome, a Former National President, National Association of Delta State Students (Worldwide), NADETSU, Comrade Donald Igudia and moderated by the Publisher of Spadeng, Comrade Abel JohnGold, had variant opinion after critically examining the stands of Falana, the Military, and Tompolo as the group urged the security agencies to wake up to its responsibilities of protecting lives and property of citizens.
DOPF submitted that the Pipeline Surveillance Contracts awarded to Tompolo is in line with Community Policing concepts. The group noted that the call by Femi Falana (SAN) for the resignation of the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor is not the solution to the problem rather that the Military should avoid being complicit as alleged by Tompolo, adding that, the Military should partner more with the locals, community leaders just like Tompolo’s current partnership with critical stakeholders to achieve the goals of ending Oil Theft menace.
The hangout backed the burning of stolen crude oil noting that is in line with the extant laws of Military engagement but urged the Federal Government to investigate activities and review legislations to prevent further economic loses, environmental hazards, degradation, pollutions, disease outbreaks and other environmental consequences as a result of the burning of stolen crude oil, and explore other measures to checkmate theft in the oil sector inorder to revive and boost Socio-economic development of the country.
While commending the efforts put so far by Tompolo in discovering points of crude oil theft, the discussants called for a thorough investigation on the matter by the Federal Government.
Other solutions to oil theft in Nigeria as suggested included amongst others, that Nigerians should seek the face of God with genuine repentance to effect positive change in the country, not only in the oil sector or illegal bunkering and that stolen crude oil should be investigated by the Federal Government and not total burning to avoid environmental hazards degradation and waste of resources.
Another is that, Federal Government should rescind from its Militarization of, and neglect of the Niger-Delta Region; the development, empowerment of Niger-Delta indegenes. Partnership with citizens, Communities by the Military and Federal Government should be taken seriously.
Furthermore, Security agencies, NNPC and other top Government officials should avoid being complicit to oil theft, avoid aiding and abetting. The Federal Government should be sincere with Ogoni Clean up exercise, and finally, that Security agencies should be empowered by the Federal Government with modern Aircrafts and other sophisticated Security Technologies to checkmate Oil Theft in Nigeria.
In another development, the panel of discussants spoke on the current ravaging flood on Deltans and Nigerians in general, as they called on governments at all levels to rise up to their responsibilities to cushion the effects of the menace on citizens.
DOPF while commiserating with the victims of flood in Delta and Nigeria in general over the discomforts, the destruction of lives and their properties and other disease outbreaks following the ravaging flood menace, used the opportunity to enjoin Governments at all levels to always be sensitive, be prepared and proactive enough to combat this form of menace on time by building IDP Camps across the local government areas, states or country before the occurrence so as to avoid any loss of lives by heeding to the early warning signals from NIMET and other States and Federal Orientation agencies.
The discussants bemoaned the fact that Governments had not been sensitive to the plight of Nigerians, therefore used the medium to call on the Federal Government to revive and complete the Dam being constructed in Adamawa State in line with the understanding, agreement the country had with Cameroon before their Dams were constructed in 1977.
Investigations had revealed that the opening of the Dam in Cameroon after the water has reached the maximum level, in a larger quantity the rise had to flow down to Nigerian rivers, especially the River Niger and River Benue resulting to devastating Flood in Nigeria and consistently causing unquantifiable loss of lives and property, outbreak of diseases and pollutions in the country which case studies of 2012, 2016 and 2022 had shown.
DOPF also urged the Government to monitor the activities of the Flood Management Committees in the various IDP Camps to avoid politicians enriching themselves with the sorrows of other Deltans and Nigerians as this is in line with reports from victims and that media should stop undue glorification of politicians upon disbursement of relief materials to victims of flood.
It added that States should construct their own Dams to curtail flood menace and that the Federal Government should as a matter of urgency, dredge the River Niger and River Benue and show proactiveness by empowering SEMA, NEMA early enough to avoid further re-occurrence in Delta and the country at large.