Niger Delta communities may shut down oil production channels – Alamieyeseigha

Diepreye Alamieyeseigha

South-South and South East zones opposed to intervention funds for the north.

A delegate to the National Conference, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, disclosed on Monday that the oil communities in the Niger Delta may shut down all channels of oil production in the region due possible occurrence of earthquake.

He said the leadership of the communities visited him over the weekend during which they informed him about the plan and asked him to convey it to the Conference.

Mr. Alamieyeseigha, a former governor of Bayelsa State, who spoke shortly before the conference delegates suspended plenary session to enable select delegates to resolve the disagreement on the derivation fund, said in the past 58 years, a minimum of 1.8 to 2 million barrel of crude oil was being extracted from Niger Delta lands on a
daily basis.

“The consequence is that they have started experiencing earth movements in their environment and the fear that there is going to be earthquake or tsunami very soon in their land,” he said. “In order jurisdiction, when this volume of oil is removed, liquid of same gravity is being injected to equalise or stabilize the geology of the area. In recent times, there was gas flaring of the cost of Balyesa for over a month, the heat was so much that all the villagers evacuated, for one month the oil companies could not clamp the gas flaring.

“So, the fear that they don’t have the capacity to withstand any earthquake in that environment and that I should inform you all that they may take the option, I repeat, they will take the option of shutting down production in that areas till concrete agreement or arrangements is made with the oil companies to warranties the
injection ostabilising the environments.”

However, in a quick response, a Civil Society Organisation, CSO, delegate, Femi Falana, informed the Conference that the Nigerian Government had run into problems as United States of America, which had been the major buyer of Nigeria crude oil had stop buying it.

Mr. Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said the U.S. now has an alternative to Nigeria’s crude oil and that “very soon there will not be buyers of our oil again.”

Meanwhile, the delegates from the South East and South-South geo-political zones said on Monday that they remained opposed to the five percentage National Intervention Fund.

The Conference was thrown into crisis following the recommendations on the derivation formula by a group of delegates called National Conference Consensus Group, which offered to work towards reaching a consensus on the issue.

The group had in its report presented last Wednesday recommended 18 per cent as derivation fund for the mineral-producing states, five per cent fund for the development of solid Mminerals and another five percent as National Intervention Fund for the insurgent-ravaged North East zone as well as North West and North Central.

The recommendation split the delegates, with those from the three geo-political zones in the South kicking against the National Intervention Fund, arguing that it should not be limited to the North alone.

In a statement jointly signed by 16 of their delegates, the southeast and southsouth zones said since the fund was meant to address the vexed issues of devastation and upheavals caused by an act of war or by outright war itself, they (zones) should be adequately taken care of by the fund in terms of the physical infrastructure, rehabilitation, development and other losses resulting from the civil war.

They also asked the Federal Government to set up a body to work out agreed reparation to settle the civil war issue once and for all. Among those who signed the document are former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara, Ike Nwachukwu, Ihechukwu Madubuike, Ankio Briggs, Gary Igariwey, Ezekiel Izuogu, Ezenwa Nwagwu and Joe Orji.

The others are Nnenna Oti, Chinedu Nwajiuba, Nelson Uwaga, Obi Anoliefo, Bob Njemanze, and Obura Ike.

They said all fair-minded citizens of Nigeria were wont to agree that the former Eastern Region and part of the former Midwest Region, which encompass the present day South East and South-South zones were victims of civil war which devastated them and brought untold hardship to their citizens.

“The case of the South East which bore the full brunt of the civil war for 30 months is particularly tragic. Most of it has remained a wasteland despite General Gowon’s declaration of the three “Rs” – Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation,” they said.

The two zones noted that Boko Haram insurgency in parts of the country and especially in the North East zone had brought up the issues of reparation and reconstruction in whatever guise, to the fore and that the National Conference.

Stating that “what is good for the geese is good for the gander,” the zones argued that the Conference could not afford to ignore the yearnings of their people to rehabilitate and reconstruct their areas through the proposed National Intervention Fund or thorough any other integrated platform or plan available to the Federal Government.

They also said several panels set up by the Federal Government, including the Oputa Panel had approved reparation for the war damages, “but till date this has not been addressed.”

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