Non-political professional group, South-South Penpunshers has decried the environmental degradation of the South-South region alongside varied deprivations, describing it as unacceptable and some reasons why the country must adopt the report of the 2014 National Conference report as a basis for a peaceful Nigeria.
In a statement issued by its spokesman, Comrade Ambrose Sule in Abuja yesterday, the group said, “the news that the Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, has called for a cease fire after weeks of blowing up oil and gas pipelines comes as a welcome development. This is because we believe that dialogue by the federal government with all stakeholders in the Niger Delta project remains the best option for lasting peace in the region.
“The degradation of the eco-system through oil pollution from operations by the different oil companies operating in the south-south region, has done enough collateral damage that the Ogoni Clean up exercise flagged off recently by the present administration is seen as a step in the right direction.
“However, it is pertinent to state that the project under the auspices of the United Nations Environmental Programme for which money has been voted, must be pursued religiously and devoid of any political manipulations by powers that be.
“As presently constituted, the Nigeria nation is built on falsehood where justice and fair play has taken flight, hence, the agitations by several groups in the country of which the NDA is one. It is becoming obvious by the day that we must sit down as a people and redefine how we want to live together.
“That, there is a great disconnect between peoples of the Niger Delta region and the Nigeria nation is there for all to see. Worthy of note however, is to remind all parties that violence has never solved problems, but ultimately leads to fractious discontent and outright war.
“This brings us to the issue of restructuring, as a way out of this imbalance prevalent in the polity and which happens to be one of the demands of the Avengers. Fortunately, highly placed Nigerians, have also joined in the call for the restructuring of the country with many opting for true fiscal federalism. This is where the report of the last National Conference put together by the last administration of Goodluck Jonathan in 2014 comes in. A cursory look at that report in which Nigerians from every strata of the society were represented, shows that what needs to be done to make Nigeria work is embedded.
According to Constitutional lawyer and a member of that confab, Mike Ozekhome (SAN) “–But at the end of the day a recommendation that filled 678 pages with 360 specific recommendations on how to re-engineer and retool and remake the weak tottering fabric of Nigeria that makes us groggy, wobbling and fumbling.
“In that report, we agreed that, either we merge all the states to together to 6 regional blocs or if some states will not agree to be merged, we create more states as propounded by the National Conference of 2014 to free the minorities from the grip of the majority, because I believe that each state knowing that there is no longer largesse of any wealth to be shared, will now face their place and get out the best.
“We now said, there should be regional economic blocs, so that the South West for example can be a regional economic bloc that takes care of their interest, South-South for example, can be a regional economic bloc, the same with South East, North West, North Central and North East”
“We want to state unequivocally as a body, that we are in total support of dusting up that report and putting in place mechanisms that will fast track its implementation.
“We want to warn that by allowing the current situation in the Niger Delta region to degenerate to a full blown crisis will do the country and its people no good. Ultimately, it will be to the advantage of the West that have longed to control the oil not only in the region, but in the entire gulf of Guinea, reputed to have the largest oil reserve in the world.
“The West will not hesitate to send personnel and weapons into the region to fight on the side of the peoples of the Niger Delta against the Nigeria state because of the oil there. At the end of the day, the poor and already traumatised people of the region will be the hardest hit by a full blown war.”

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