Monday, January 16, 2017

Pipeline bombardments have killed over 20,000, Osinbajo tells N’Deltans

Pipeline bombardments have killed over 20,000, Osinbajo tells N’Deltans

Pipeline bombardments have killed over 20,000, Osinbajo tells N’Deltans

Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday told the people of Gbaramatu kingdom in Delta State that attacks on pipelines in the region from 1998 till 2015 have killed over 20,000 persons.
This is even as rumours made the rounds that some traditional rulers staged a walk-out in the course of a peace parley with the Vice President during the visit.
The vice president’s revelations were made when he visited Delta State on Monday as part of the ongoing efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to resolve the lingering crisis in the region which has drastically affected the country’s oil output and economy.
Speaking to the people at Gbaramatu after a closed-door meeting with their leaders at the palace of the Pere of Gbaramatu kingdom, Oboro Gbaraun II, Osinbajo said, “In 2013 alone, there were over 3700 incidents of pipeline vandalisation. From January to June 2016, there were over 1447 incidents of vandalisation.
“The Niger Delta of today is one where aside environmental degradation, between 1998 and 2015, over 20,000 persons have died from fire incidents arising from breaching of the pipelines.
“To prepare for a great future for the Gbaramatu kingdom, three things must happen: we must recognise the unique environmental challenges the Niger Delta is facing, we must also recognise that the Niger Delta is a special economic zone for this nation so we must treat it as a special development zone.
“This means the Federal Government, state government, National Assembly, NDDC, civil societies representing Niger Delta must sit together and develop a plan for rapid development.
“There is no excuse for not planning together. The Federal Government cannot solve the problem of Niger Delta. It is impossible for the FG to do it alone. The state should devote substantial portion of its budget to this special project”, he stated.
Speaking on PAN Niger Delta Forum “PANDEF” and its 16 point agenda recently submitted to the Federal Government, Osinbajo said that issues raised in the agenda will be extremely helpful in determining the region’s key development priorities.
“It is an important working document that represents an excellent road map to the future of Niger Delta.
When I leave here we will visit the site of the Maritime University. The president has directed the ministry of petroleum to work quick to see to the realisation of all of the objectives of implementing this crucial educational institution.
“Establishing this university has passed the second reading in the National Assembly and I know we have the commitment of the members of the national assembly to fast track this bill so that the maritime school will be completed as soon as possible.
The vice president also spoke on the need to clean-up the Delta region which has been contaminated with oil beyond Ogoni, where according to him, clean-up exercise has already begun.
He then warned on the need for Nigeria to grow an economy that will not be dependent on oil and must “recognise that the future is full of challenges for the oil industry.”
He said, “In another 20 to 30 years, our oil won’t be as precious as it is today and that is reality.”
Meanwhile, an unconfirmed report alleged that traditional rulers walked out from the peace meeting with Prof Osinbajo at Effurun, Delta State.

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