Nigeria ’s Vice-President, Goodluck Jonathan has described the Niger Delta as a national embarrassment, which has brought sorrow for all Nigerians. Jonathan, who spoke while declaring open the two-day retreat of the South-South Caucus of the House of Representatives, with the theme, “Our Niger Delta, Our Challenge” in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on Friday, also declared that the unpleasant tale of discontent and pain in the resource-rich Niger Delta must be brought to an end.
The event attended by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dimeji Bankole; Governor of Rivers State, Chief Rotimi Amaechi; the Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Mr. Peremobowei Ebebi, among others, papers were also presented by resource persons, including Senator David Brigidi and the President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, Mr. Ledum Mitee.
Jonathan said, “Some of the complaints by the people of the Niger Delta against corporations, governments, federal, state and local, are to the effect that these institutions have, in the past, used the instrumentality of the law to undermine the aspirations of the people for development and justice. Every struggle has a soul of conscience. There is no virtue in a struggle that supports the kidnap of children, mothers, grandmothers, grandfathers, foreigners and the killing of the innocent.
Our determination is to bring to an end the neglect and underdevelopment of the region, which cannot be derailed by fringe elements, who have routinely capitalized on the situation to undermine our determination to ensure peace, stability and development for all. “The resolution of the Niger Delta crises is a first line task for this administration and it is in this regard that a step by step approach has been adopted to achieve this vision.
The crisis in the Niger Delta is a national crisis affecting all Nigerians and it therefore requires a national resolution. It cannot be otherwise.” He noted that some of the steps taken so far by the administration of President Umaru Yar’Adua to resolve the Niger Delta crisis included building consensus among the stakeholders, evolving a workable plan of action, protecting the resources of the region and quickening the development of the region. to make new laws for the good of the country and to amend old ones that stood as obstacles to peace, development and prosperity in the Niger Delta.