Netherlands, UK, U.S., others seek involvement in Nigerian govt’s discussion with oil communities

FILE PHOTO: Acting President Osinbajo speaking at the Niger Delta town-hall stakeholder's meeting in Rivers State. 13th Feb 2017. Photo: Novo Isioro.

The governments of six Western countries and the European Union have indicated their willingness to be involved in the ongoing discussion the federal government is having with oil producing communities.

The governments of the Netherlands, UK, France, Germany, Italy, and the United States through their embassy officials indicated this at a meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday.

This was made known in a statement by Mr. Osinbajo’s office on Friday.

The statement also indicated the Buhari administration’s commitment to resolve the crises in the oil producing areas.

Read the full statement below.

While past leadership and governance failures explain the worrying conditions of Nigerians in the oil-producing communities, the people still deserve a fair deal, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Mr. Osinbajo said this was the position of President Muhammadu Buhari and it is the reason the administration is now advocating a New Vision for the people of the Niger Delta. He spoke earlier on Friday at the Presidential Villa while chairing an inter-ministerial follow-up meeting with relevant government ministries, departments and agencies involved in the Niger Delta.

“The President believes the people of the Niger Delta deserve justice, and for me also it is a very important point,” the vice president stated adding that the state of the region and the suffering of the people does not reflect the fact that “it is the resource base of the country.”

Continuing, he said “in-spite of the past leadership failure, the Niger Delta people deserved a fair deal.”

The Vice President told the inter-ministerial team that includes ministers and others MDA heads that the meeting is to ensure that “we are faithful to the promises and the spirit of the presidential engagements with the people of the Niger Delta.”

In attendance at the meeting were the Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Usani Usani, Petroleum Resources Minister of State, Ibe Kachikwu and the Environment Minister of State, Ibrahim Jubril. Others include the Presidential Adviser on Amnesty Programme Paul Boroh, and the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Nsima Ekere.

All the ministers and officials made presentations about the next steps in the process, especially on how to effectively meet the commitments and deliver the promises made by the Federal Government during the interactive engagement tours led by the Vice President.

In his presentation, the Minister of State for Environment disclosed that the ministry has now fully engaged the Ogoni Clean-Up Project Coordinator, Marvin Dekil, himself an indigene of Ogoni. Besides, he also revealed that potential contractors have been visiting the site to demonstrate available and suitable technology to be used for the Clean-Up.

Later the Vice President also received a delegation of western diplomats from countries involved in the oil industry in Nigeria. The delegation was led by the Dutch Envoy in Nigeria, Ambassador John Groffen, and included Ambassadors, High Commissioners or their deputies from United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, United States and the European Union.

The Vice President told the diplomats that the idea of the interactive engagements with the oil-producing communities resulted from President Muhammadu Buhari after he met with leaders from the region last November.

He added that the Buhari presidency is therefore working on how to make a positive and long-lasting impact in the region in a way that transforms the lives of the people from the “treasure trove of Nigeria.”

The Vice President then added that the federal government will welcome the partnership and support of the western countries in that effort.

Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Mr. Groffen said the countries represented at the meeting would like to stay involved in the dialogue, while commending the approach of the Buhari administration in the matter.

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