Nathan Tamarapreye, Yenagoa
Aggrieved ex-agitators have threatened to disrupt the peace in Niger Delta following failures of their governors to provide palliatives to poor communities despite receiving N5bn from the Federal Government.
The ex-agitators under the auspices of Coalition of Ex-agitators of Niger Delta (CEND) said their governors seemed to have diverted the money released by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to alleviate the suffering caused by the removal of fuel subsidy.
The Chairman, CEND, Gen. Gershom Mpakaboari Gbobo, in a press briefing alongside other members of the coalition in Port Harcourt, said whereas Tinubu was sensitive enough to make provisions for palliatives, their governors appeared unconcerned with the level of hardship in their various states, Especially Bayalsa and Rivers state.
“Where is our palliatives?” Gershom queried, insisting that there was no deliberate activities and programmes by the governors targeted at providing reliefs to the people.
He said: “Does it mean that as usual, these governors have pocketed the money? We will never allow it to happen. We will compel them to bring out the money in a mother of all protests across the states. It will no longer be business as usual. Our people are suffering untold hardship while these governors are junketing in profligacy and living large without showing any concern to our problems.
“We expected the governor’s to have started deliberate programmes aimed at reaching the people with palliatives. We expected them to add reasonable amount of money to the N5bn and float far-reaching programmes that will practically ameliorate the pains of the people. But they are less concerned. We can see what Borno Governor is doing for his people but our entire region is quiet”.
Gershom wondered why some leaders of ex-agitators like the Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme Committee on Strategic Communications, Gen Nature Dumale, and the Chairman/President of all first Phase Ex-Agitators in the Niger Delta region, HRH Henry Binidodogha Ekes, had remained quiet over the non-challant attitude of the governors.
“Are our leaders, the likes of Hon Kakas, the leaders of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), who are very close to the Presidency, including Nature Dumale, who is also the Secretary of the First Phase Ex-agitators’ part of the conspiracy to divert the palliative cash? All of them must speak out against these governors because when we begin our protests, we will not listen to anybody”, Gershom said.
Also, the National Spokesman of the Coalition, Gen Ellington Bakumor called on the National Security Adviser (NSA), the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), The Chief of Staff to the President and other relevant authorities to prevail on the governors to release the palliatives.
Also, the National Secretary of the Coalition of Ex-agitators in the Niger Delta region, Gen. Jeff Johnson also lamented the ongoing massive gas export to European countries by the Federal Government without creating the desired benefits and stakeholders’ engagement among the Niger Delta communities producing the resources.
He said: “If not for the crisis in Niger, we would not have known that pipelines from Niger Delta communities are supplying massive gas to European countries through Niger Republic. The Federal Government must develop a template to accommodate the leadership of the Niger Delta communities and make them benefit directly from this gas taken from their communities.
“If such deals continue to happen without any tangible benefits to our people, we will have no option but to shut down all gas facilities in the region”.