…rejects 3% for host communities
ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
Pan-Ijaw group, the Movement for the Survival of Izon Ethnic Nationality in the Niger Delta (MOSIEND), has accused the National Assembly of playing the northern script culminating in the passage of a paltry three per cent for oil host communities.
The group said with the fallout of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and several other injustices in the Niger Delta, the Ijaw and the people of the region had absolutely lost faith in one Nigeria.
The National President, MOSIEND, Comrade Kennedy Tonjo-West, said in an interview on Friday that the harmonised three per cent for host communities development fund was unacceptable, unfortunate and unthinkable.
Tonjo-West stated: “Right now, we do not have faith in this country called Nigeria. Nigeria is not a place any region should talk about dialogue. The Federal Government has made us understand that they don’t care a hoot about how other regions fare as far as they satisfy their personal and regional interests.
“Not long ago, some northern groups in including Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) commended President Muhammadu Buhari for giving Zamfara State the leverage to bargain how their gold will be sold but the same is not said or permitted of oil and gas.
“They do not feel the hardship, the environmental hazards of the people from other ethnic nationalities and feel that only three per cent is good for host communities and 30 per cent for a wild goose chase of oil exploration in the Basin.”
He said what transpired at the National Assembly did not give the minorities any hope for a united Nigeria.
Tonjo-West, who accused President Muhammadu Buhari of orchestrating the whole charade, said whatever both houses of the National Assembly did, it was crystal clear that they were playing the northern script.
He stated: “Why the desperation to pass the PIB now? This same PIB has lingered right from 2008 and the North has always opposed it. How come now that they are in serious desperation to pass it into law?
“It is another form of neo-colonialism, another form of wanting to appease the people of the Niger Delta, it is another form of keeping them totally impoverished, it is another form of divide and rule, it is another form of telling the people of Niger Delta and the people of Southsouth that they should go to hell.
“They should know that what goes around comes around. If the North thinks that today they have the President, they have the Senate, they have numerical strength, they should know that God also has the paramount interest in this Nigeria. They do not know where their desperation and wickedness will land them.
“Nigeria should be facing an implosion any minute from now. For us, it is crystal clear that the President of the country wants to use every opportunity to make sure that he shows to the people of the South that they are not part of this country.
“The desperation of our northern brothers will tear Nigeria apart because why other regions are trying their best to see how to shift grounds, compromise some areas for Nigeria to be one, they are doing everything that will tear the country apart, especially in the areas of addressing issues of injustice, equity and fair play.”
On the issue of restructuring, Tonjo-West said Nigerians had been clamouring for dialogue to reset the country but the President had always insisted that the National Assembly is the final arbiter to address the Nigeria question.
He stressed: “There have been series of calls on restructuring and the President will always say that the National Assembly is the best arbiter to address most of those issues.
“But with the fallout of the PIB, does National Assembly give the common man a hope for united Nigeria? Does the NASS give the minorities a hope that they are part of Nigeria? Instead, the North is using their numerical strength in the Assembly to subsume other minorities.
“This is why MOSIEND and other ethnic nationality groups have always said that the issue of restructuring cannot be addressed in the National Assembly because there is no equity there.”