FG’s silence on maritime university may deepen Niger Delta crisis – Ijaw leader

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The Ijaw nation has warned that the continued silence of President Muhammadu Buhari over the recent cancellation of the proposed Maritime University in Okerenkoko, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State may heighten the crisis in the Niger Delta region.
They warned that said if President Buhari failed to take urgent action on the important issue of the fate of the maritime university, the crisis in the region could escalate as his silence could be misconstrued as an indication of his lack of interest in the development of the oil-rich region.
The Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, had recently hinted of plans to cancel the proposed NMU embarked upon by the administration of former president Goodluck Jonathan in May 2014.
The Niger Delta Avengers, a militant group that had been attacking oil facilities since January this year, has also listed the inability of the Federal Government to kick-start the university as one of the reasons behind its activities.
The Chairman of Kokodiagbene, an Ijaw community, Sheriff Mulade, who spoke with our correspondent in Warri, Delta State, said the people of the Niger Delta deserved a Federal University that would bring development to the region.
Mulade said that the region had fed the nation in the past 50 years and could not understand why the Federal Government could not give the people the university in return.
He, therefore, advised the Federal Government to commence the operation of the university in order for peace to reign in the region.
The community leader said, “It’s worthy to state that the Ijaw nation and Niger Delta region have fed Nigerians for over 50 years. So, all we demand is for the Federal Government to feed the Niger Delta people in return by improving on the development efforts of our land”.
Mulade also appealed to President Buhari and the Federal Government not to see the people of the Niger Delta as enemies of Nigeria.
He also pleaded with the Federal Government to create empowerment programmes that would bring development to the region and ease the pain of environmental degradation in the region, adding it was needless to cancel the proposed university in the Niger Delta.
“All these are not fair for any democratic society because all we need is sincerity,” Mulade said.
He, however, appealed to- President Buhari to personally investigate the alleged political witch-hunt of a former militants’ leader, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly called Tompolo as well as the ethnic bias been displayed regarding the purported plans to cancel and relocate the specialized university.
“We therefore want to assure Mr. President that the Ijaw and the people of the Niger Delta are strongly behind him and will surely do everything possible to ensure peace in the Niger Delta Region, as we do not support destruction but we support one Nigeria.
“The Ijaws are peace-loving people who are only demanding for their fundamental rights to development, environmental remediation, and equal political rights and putting an end to marginalization of the Niger Delta people in order to give them a sense of belonging,” the community leader said.