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Let's take charge

Posted by By EMMANUEL OGOIGBE, Warri on 2008/07/25 | Views: 1097 |

Let's take charge


The ultimate goal of the people of the Niger-Delta area is to take effective control of the natural resources emanating from the area, so says Ijaw leader and elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark.

The ultimate goal of the people of the Niger-Delta area is to take effective control of the natural resources emanating from the area, so says Ijaw leader and elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark.

In an interview with Daily Sun, Clark predicted that the crisis in the area would continue to escalate until oil producing states had taken total control of funds from the proceeds of oil sales. Such states, he stated, would then pay taxes to the Federal Government.

"There must be true federalism. We insist that oil producing states must take control of their oil money and pay taxes to the Federal Government. It is pertinent that every oil bearing area must develop their communities," he said.

While regretting the shabby treatment being meted out to the oil producing communities, the Ijaw leader noted that every part of the country depended on oil money without having any regards to the development of the area that produced the nation's wealth.
He vowed that leaders from the South-South would never relinquish the struggle for control of the area's resources.

"How can we drop the issue of resource control? That is our life. In fact, we are still pushing for an increase to between 25 per cent and 50 per cent in the next five years," he stated, while noting that that was part of the recommendations made by the area in the report submitted by General Alex Ogomudia to the Federal Government.
According to him, past reports and recommendations on the Niger-Delta since 1958 should be collated and acted upon rather than wasting time, energy and money to convene conferences that would yield no positive result.

The Ijaw leader also said that leaders from the region had already made presentations to the Federal Government that three committee members should come from each state in the region with one from each senatorial zone.
"As long as we want a forum for dialogue we had already told the Federal Government to use the 2008 budget to develop the Niger-Delta. The region must be protected and nothing will be too big to earmark for the development of the area that produces the oil wealth of this nation, if the government is really sincere on the development of the region," he said.

The ex-Information minister urged President Umaru Yar'Adua to show genuine interest in the Niger-Delta question, insisting that the leaders would continue to maintain their stand on the issue.
"The only way out of the numerous violence and all forms of criminality in the area is the sincere infrastructural transformation of the battered region that has been in abject poverty and want. All we are saying is that President Yar'Adua should be sincere in this direction," Clark said.

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