Abuja (STATE HOUSE ) President Muhammadu Buhari, in Abuja, while receiving South-South Monarchs Forum, (SSMF) led by King Edmund Daukoru, Mingi XII, Amanyanabo of Nembe Kingdom, at State House, appealed to the South-South elders, to put an end to pipeline vandalism in their communities.
The President said the destruction of oil facilities by vandals was hurting the host communities, the majority of the people and the environment, more than the government.
He told the traditional rulers who came to congratulate him on his re-election and discuss issues of specific relevance to the zone, that they were culturally and traditionally positioned to complement government efforts, on enhancing security in the Niger Delta.
He, therefore, charged them to educate the youths on the dangers such nefarious activities posed to the environment and the economy.‘‘You need to educate the people that the destruction of installations is hurting the majority of the people. If pipelines are blown and the waters are polluted, it affects both the fishermen and farmers. Even the fishes in the sea are affected”
President Buhari also decried the spate of kidnapping in the area, urging the royal fathers not to relent in their support to security agencies, to effectively contain the negative trend.
Responding to an inquiry by the group on 10 per cent equity participation for host communities in solid minerals and whether the same is applicable to the oil sector, President Buhari said ‘‘The constitution is very mindful of the way resources are shared. The 13 per cent derivation means that relative to whatever you are producing, 13 per cent is given to your States.
‘‘Then, whatever is offshore in the continental shelf belongs to the nation. Again your States get their own shares. This means your constituencies get two shares, the 13 per cent derivation and the balance in the continental shelf, which is shared among the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
On Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the President told the Forum that his administration was mindful of the core mandate of the Commission, that they are concerned about the leadership of NDDC and hope that money which is constitutionally allocated to it, is properly utilized for infrastructure in the area.
Futhermore, he said his administration is very mindful of the conditions in the area and how strategic the geopolitical zone is to the economy and stability of the country.
Congratulating the President on his re-election, Daukoru said: ‘‘In exercise of our role as traditional rulers, we plead with all those who are unhappy with the imperfections of our electoral process to graciously transcend their grievances and to join the immense task we all face of building a secure and prosperous Nigeria.’’
A prepared text was presented by the Royal Father on behalf of the Forum, raising issues of Niger Delta security, economic development, infrastructure, environment and oil sector matters.
On oil sector matters, King Daukoru accused the operators in charge of community development programmes, among others, of polarising communities, by-passing traditional authority, pandering the interest of bully boys and their local militia
Speaking on behalf of Bayelsa Elders’ Council, HRM Alfred Diete-Spiff (former Military Governor, old Rivers State), the Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass Kingdom, appealed for more tangible Federal presence in Bayelsa.
He urged the Federal Government to give priority attention and award contracts for Ogbia-Nembe-Brass Road, Yenegoa-Oporoma-Ukubie-Koluama Road and Sagbama-Ekeremor-Agge-Road.
According to the Royal Father, the contracts for the construction of these roads were awarded by him 50 years ago as Military Governor, but nothing much had happened.
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)