President Bola Tinubu has called for the collaboration of traditional rulers in the Niger Delta region in maintaining enduring peace and security as well as stoppage of oil theft in the region. Tinubu said this is to ensure maximum oil production and enhancement of the economy.
The minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Engr Abubakar Momoh, disclosed this at the weekend when he addressed a forum of the Delta State Traditional Rulers Council at the palace of their chairman, His Majesty, Major-General (rtd.) Felix Mujakperuo, Orhue I, the Orodje of Okpe Kingdom.
In attendance were the council’s vice chairman, the Pere of Akugbene Mien, Luke SP Kalanama VIII; the Ovie of Oghara Kingdom, Noble Eshemitan, Uku Oghara N’ame, Orefe III; the Ovie of Idjerhe Kingdom, His Majesty Monday Whiskey, Udurhie I; the Ovie of Abraka kingdom, Luke Erede Ejohwomu, Adakaji; as well as the Osuivie of Agbarho Kingdom, His Majesty Samson Owheriijesu Ogugu I, among others.
Momoh noted that the state is the sixth state he has so far visited in delivering the president’s message across the Niger Delta. According to him, the present administration holds the traditional rulers in very high esteem “being the custodians of peace in any community.”
He said, “We are here to give you the goodwill message of Mr. President, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu. And he has requested that I should appeal to the traditional rulers to help to keep maintaining the peace of this area so that there will be maximum production of oil, and to enhance the economic well-being of the country.”
The minister stated that the government knows that “the Niger Delta is a very volatile place. And for us to maximize the economic potentials of Nigeria, the Niger Delta must be peaceful. And peace and security are amongst the topmost priorities of Mr. President as contained in his policy mission.
“And in order for us to have peace and security, there is no doubt that the traditional rulers and the governors of the states would be highly involved. That’s why when we came today (Saturday), we started from the office of the governor of the state because when you are talking of physical stakeholders in any region, you should talk of the governor of the state and you know that the traditional rulers are the next in terms of hierarchy,” he said.
The minister, however, acknowledged the challenges of failed federal roads in the Niger Delta region, particularly the East-West Road traversing Port-Harcourt in Rivers State to Bayelsa, Delta and Edo states noting that “the road is gone and travelling to Port-Harcourt is a nightmare.”
He promised to interface with the minister of works “with a view to fashioning out how best the roads can be constructed in a very short time.” The minister reiterated Tinubu’s priority for infrastructure development, assuring that he will facilitate action to make life better for Nigerians.
On behalf of the Traditional Rulers Council, Mujakperuo attributed the high rate of insecurity and kidnappings in the Niger Delta partly to the bad roads in the region and pleaded with the federal government to wade in immediately.
The monarch also expressed concern over the high rate of abandoned projects by the Niger Delta Development Commission in different communities in the region, adding that nothing had come out of the forensic audit reportedly carried out on the commission by the government.
“The president should be told the truth and not just what he wanted to hear,” the monarch said as he presented a letter from the Delta State Traditional Rulers Council to the visiting minister for onward transmission to the president.