N'Delta activists berate Jonathan for lack of development

THE PUNCH Newspaper- Mike Odiegwu

Niger Delta activists on Sunday accused President Goodluck Jonathan, of failing to tackle the basic developmental challenges in the zone six years after occupying the two most prestigious positions in the country.

The founders of the Niger Delta Development Monitoring and Corporate Watch, Mr. Nengi James; Forum for Justice and Human Rights Defence, Mr. Oghenejabor Ikimi; and the Agape Birthright Organisation, Ankio Briggs, described Jonathan’s approach to the region’s development as disappointing.

The activists, who spoke in separate interviews with our correspondent in Yenagoa, said they were disappointed that the Niger Delta had been abandoned, despite the fact that sensitive political positions were being occupied by politicians from the area.

James said the President was expected to have adopted the report of the Ledim Mittee’s Technical Committee which he said outlined solutions to the problems of the region.

He said, “The Ledim Mittee’ technical report on Niger Delta is the best report the Niger Delta President would have adopted directly to help the region. It clearly spelt out all the problems of the region.

“All the demands of the region in addition to the demands of our neighbours were incorporated into that report. If that technical report is still left behind and not been adopted by the President that means we are going nowhere”.

He said the Federal Government under Jonathan’s administration had continued to play politics with major developmental projects in the region such as the East-West Road and the proposed coastal roads.

He flayed other interventionist agencies such as the Niger Delta Development Commission and the Ministry of the Niger Delta, saying they had failed the people of the region.

James alleged that instead of looking at the overall development of the region, Jonathan was busy exploring ways to attract projects to his hometown in Otuoke, Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

Ikimi, who was angry at the dearth of infrastructure in the region, described the transformation agenda of the President as a mirage.

He said the foundation for Jonathan’s agenda had yet to be laid in the region and the country at large, adding that the region, under Jonathan, had deteriorated.

He said, “For instance, the East-West Road project among many other projects in the region had long been abandoned. We vehemently protest against the dearth of public infrastructural development in the nation in general and in the Niger Delta in particular. We call on the president to actualise his electoral promises.”

Briggs, however, observed that the northern part of the country under Jonathan had benefited more than other regions including the Niger Delta.

She said the people of the Niger Delta had yet to feel the impact of Jonathan’s administration, adding that the region would not stop its agitation for true federalism.


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