Air Commodore, Idongesit Nkanga

By Abasifreke Effiong

The chairman of Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (rted) has said that President Muhammadu Buhari administration has not shown commitment to the needs of the Niger Delta and the demands for restructuring made by Nigerians.

Nkanga who was addressing the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, during a courtesy call on him said the Buhari administration has done only half of the 16-points demands made to the federal government by the people of Niger Delta.

He said the handling of the issues concerning the Niger Delta by the administration was very discouraging, urging youths of the region to be interested in pushing forward issues affecting the region.

“The youths can’t pay scant attention to the things that will affect them in the future. That is why I encourage them to be interested in what we are doing.”

“Look at the 16 points agenda which all the leaders of the Niger Delta region agreed on and took to the President on 1st November 2016. Fours years after we presented that document to the President, only half of one of the demands we made have been done. And that half is the establishment of the Maritime University in Delta, the other half of that one is the upgrading of Maritime Academy in Oron.”

Nkanga urged Nigerian students to lent their voices to the rallying demand for restructuring to solve the social and economic injustice in Nigeria which he noted was the cause of the disaffection across the country.

“Fiscal federalism is very dear to us. What we are getting as a region is the contaminants of the oil exploration. Economic injustice is one thing the region must confront. The federal government shares the cake that it has not bake. If we think that Nigeria will be better with the current structure, then it is wishful thinking.”

He regretted that people are going blind in the Niger Delta as a result of gas flaring adding that money paid by oil companies for flaring is being distributed to the the entire federation.

“Around this region, in the night you see gas flaring in Ibeno, Sapele in Warri. These things cause problem. People are going blind because of that. The Oil companies have been paying penalties for flaring gas but a former Minister of finance said the money is too little and when the money is paid it is shared to the entire federation. If the man in Ibeno is going blind, is the man in Zamfara, also going blind?

“That is why we talked about restructuring. Restructuring means Justice and any body that is against Justice cannot benefit from Justice” Nkanga said.

Half of one of 16-points demand by Niger Delta done Chairman of PANDEF, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, President of NANS, Comrade Danielson Akpan and other student leaders during the courtesy call.

Nkanga urged the Buhari administration to go back to the recommendations of the 2014 national conference to solve the problems facing the country.

“In 2014, there was a national conference which brought out 600 recommendations on issues affecting Nigeria. 492 imminent Nigerians were there, all the decisions were taken by consensus. We were witnesses when former President Jonathan handed over to Buhari’s regime and from there all the recommendations went into dustbin”.

“Why are you not worried to know the things contained in the document? Some of the things we are talking about now, something like ranches, the state police etc were all there in that document”. He said.

The President of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, Comrade Danielson Akpan, said
NANS will identify with the agitation of PANDEF particularly in the relocation of IOCs to their states of operation.

Akpan said Nigerian students will join PANDEF and governors in the Niger Delta to push for the actualization of the 16 points agenda.

“We are going to mobilise our students to join the governors to push for the 16 points agenda of PANDEF.”

The students’ leader called on the federal government to support the Akwa Ibom state government to realise the Ibom deep seaport to decongest the port in Lagos.