It is a wrong notion for anyone to describe the demands of people of the Niger Delta for the reawakening of Nigeria as selfish and inconsequential, Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson, said on Wednesday.
According to him, the demands were rather meant to awaken the Federal Government to be alive to its responsibilities to the region and her people because of the environmental and several challenges in the area.
Dickson expressed these views during a courtesy call on him by members of the House of Representatives Committee on Local Content and management of the Board of the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in Yenagoa.
To this end, the governor wants the Federal Government to listen more to the genuine demands from the Niger Delta as its contribution to the country’s revenue is not commensurate with what it is getting in terms of critical infrastructure and other condiments for development.
He therefore urged the legislators to use the opportunity of their brief stay in the state to go round and visit oil facilities and installations especially the Oloibiri oil well where oil was first discovered in commercial quantity in 1956 so as to appreciate the cry that people of the region have not been fairly treated.
“The time has come for all of us in this country to work for equity, to work for justice, to work so that we can strengthen the bonds of unity of our country. And you can only have lasting unity when everyone is equitably attended to”, Dickson said.
While thanking his guests for the visit, the governor called for greater collaboration and support for the Niger Delta region and Bayelsa State in particular which, he said, made Nigeria to be an oil producing nation, thereby increasing its revenue in foreign currencies.
He further lamented the high cost of building projects in the state such as roads, bridges and houses, attributing it to the terrain and stressed that it is only those who have a good knowledge of the issues affecting it that will appreciate and tell the story in a better manner.
For siting the Headquarters of the NCDMB in Bayelsa state, Dickson lauded theFederal Government, saying it was the right thing to do.
He also appreciated it for the new policy of decentralizing the downstream sector and the plans to have modular refineries in the Niger Delta.
Speaking on the relocation of International Oil Companies (IOCs) to the Niger Delta, the Bayelsa governor insisted that it is the right thing to do.
Dickson said, “The companies don’t operate here, they don’t have an office here, they operate in the creeks, flying in their workers with choppers and use the various tax laws to deny this state of its legitimate revenue”.
Earlier chairman of the House of Reps committee on Local Content, Hon. Emmanuel Ekong, had told the governor that they were in the state to carry out their oversight functions and expressed delight at the achievements of his government in the last five years.