Groups ask Buhari to implement reports on Niger Delta
• Query inconsistency in dissolution of govt parastatals boards
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has been advised to implement the recommendations of the technical committee on the Niger Delta, so as to bring about sustainable peace and needed development in the area.
Meanwhile, the recent dissolution of boards and parastatals by the Federal Government has continued to attract reactions as Coalition of Civil Society Groups yesterday at a press conference questioned the rationale behind a directive which spared the boards of federal universities while others were dissolved.
Addressing the press, the president of the coalition, Bassey Etuk Williams, said the coalition was surprised over the recent pronouncement of the dissolution and even more disappointed that a counter circular directing that the boards of federal universities be retained was later sent from the office of the Head of Service of the Federation.
The appeal to the President was contained in a joint statement issued by civil society organisations in the Niger Delta namely: Centre for Environment Human Rights and Development (CEHRD), Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre, Niger Delta Women for Justice (NDWJ), Centre for Media and Development Communications (CEMEDEC), Women Against Climate Change, Citizens Trust Advocacy and Development Centre (CITADEC) and Amazona Women Leadership Initiative (AWOLIN). Also, the Concerned Niger Delta Youths Initiative commended the President for appointing Gen. Paul T. Boroh (rtd) as coordinator of the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme.
The groups urged Buhari to urgently implement the full recommendations of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoni land and ensure all oil companies clean, remediate and pay adequate compensation for all oil spills and environmental damages in their areas of operation.
The groups held a security and strategy meeting in Port Harcourt to review the national security situation, particularly in the Niger Delta region since the advent of the Buhari led administration.
During the meeting it was observed that the Goodluck Jonathan administration failed to address critical security and developmental issues in the Niger Delta as recommended in the technical committee.
Rather Jonathan’s administration decided to implement only the amnesty programme, which was only a fragment of the recommendations of a well researched and thought out report by the technical committee on the Niger Delta.
According to them, the full implementation of the report holds a key to addressing the issue of unrest in the Niger Delta. Bassey wondered if due diligence was not carried out before the dissolution, asking why giving special preference to universities among other tertiary institutions owned and managed by the federal government.
He also asked if President Muhammadu Buhari is unaware that university councils in Nigeria as so constituted are made up of politicians, whose membership were products of high political lobby and compensation of political allies, which short-changes the interest of our educational system?
He said if the change mantra is anything to go by as continuously proclaimed by the present administration, it should be all encompassing, saying, “It is true that the Academic Union of Universities had an agreement with the Federal Government regarding the tenures of these councils, yet we make bold to say that the selection process for their appointments sacrifices competence on the altar of politics.”
The coalition therefore request for a dissolution of federal universities boards with deliberate effort to reconstitute them following due process.