Port Harcourt — The way crude oil exploration and its accompanying business is being carried out in the country, alienates people of the Niger Delta region, who are the host communities, a stakeholder has said.
To this end, State Governors in the Niger Delta region have been urged to work together to build a formidable economy for the region, in other to restore dignity of the region.
A stakeholder and former Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, in Rivers State, Amaopusenibo Sofiri Brown, said this in his keynote address during stakeholders roundtable on the future of Niger Delta in the current security turmoil in Nigeria.
Brown explained that before the advent of crude oil business, the Niger Delta region has always been known for commerce.
He regretted that the country was at war within itself, citing insecurity issues ranging from armed robbery, kidnapping, banditry, cult wars, terrorism, herdsmen militia, sea piracy and gangs fighting to grab territories with solid minerals deposit in the North.
“Unfortunately the flow of trade today between the region and the rest of Nigeria is now one way. So in the flow of commerce, the region is weak. We are no longer controlling commerce like we did in the 1900s.
“Crude oil business in Nigeria alienates us (Niger Delta). Host communities do not have any say, they are not consulted or recognised on how the industry operates or should operate.
” So we must define our future by coming together. Our governors and political leaders must swallow their pride and work together to build a formidable economy for the region, that will earn us dignity and respect.
“They should also work together and collectively to secure and defend the region, amd to ensure that the region is not overrun by criminal elements.”
Brown also said nobody was immuned from the security situation in the country as state governors themselves have been helpless.
He recommended community management approach, with emphasis on intelligence sharing.
“The federal government appears not to have coherent report on security in the country. There is lack of regular updates on security from security agencies on what they are doing on specific security issues.”
Also Speaking, the Rivers State Chapter Chairman of NIPR, Paulinus Nsirim, said the meeting was imperative to set agenda that will drive the discourse concerning the nagging problem of insecurity in the country.