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Resource control or we bring down Nigeria –Asari-Dokubo

Posted by By CHRISTIAN ITA and FEMI FOLARANMI (Yenagoa) and ANSELM OKOLO, Abuja on 2005/06/19 | Views: 589 |

Resource control or we bring down Nigeria –Asari-Dokubo


The stake in the resource control debacle heightened at the weekend with a vow by the leader and commander of the Ijaw militant group, the Niger-Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, Alhaji Mujadid Asari-Dokubo, that his group is now resolved to "bring down the country" unless the South-south zone was allowed 100 per cent control of its resources.

The stake in the resource control debacle heightened at the weekend with a vow by the leader and commander of the Ijaw militant group, the Niger-Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, Alhaji Mujadid Asari-Dokubo, that his group is now resolved to "bring down the country" unless the South-south zone was allowed 100 per cent control of its resources.

Asari-Dokubo’s threat came just as uncertainty now surrounds the return of South-south delegates to the National Political Reforms Conference.

The delegates had Tuesday staged a walk out over the recommendation of 17% derivation principle for the zone.
Speaking exclusively to Sunday Sun in Yenagoa, Asari-Dokubo expressed unhappiness that Niger-Delta delegates were participants in the conference, said their participation afforded the rest of Nigeria the opportunity to ridicule them and insult the intelligence of the South-south people.

The man who recently turned in over 1000 AK47 rifles to government as a sign of truce after unleashing a reign of terror in the region, told Sunday Sun that no negotiation is needed by the zone with any other parts of the country for it take control of what he described as "rightly ours."

His words: "The people have resolved that they want to take control of their resources. We are not begging for it; we are not negotiating for it; we are not asking or pleading for it. We are not talking about revenue allocation or derivation principle. We are talking of taking charge and control of our resources."

Asari- Dokubo who described Nigeria as presently constituted as "illegal and dubious" warned that attempts to deny the people their resources would spell doom for the country.

He continued: "We have said that the conference would not serve the interest of anybody, including the ethnic nationalities forcefully conscripted into Nigeria. It is President Obasanjo‘s ploy to derail the genuine aspiration of the people. The President told us when we met him last year that as long as he remained the president, there would be no conference. This is why he has fraudulently put together a conference of his friends, associates and bootlickers.

"We are not interested in discussing revenue allocation and sharing. We have said we are taking our resources back. We are asking the Nigerian State in its own interest to pay reparation for what has been stolen, because we would forcefully take it. If we don’t succeed we shall destroy it. The money used in building the bridges, houses and skyscrapers in other parts should be returned to us or we would destroy everything."

Asari expressed disappointment with the Ijaws delegates at the conference accusing them of stabbing the people in the back.

Said he: "The issue of the Ijaws who went to the conference is about betrayal and treachery against the people. The Ijaw people have said they want self-determination, resource control and convocation of a Sovereign National Conference. Yet they went to a conference to discuss the corporate existence of Nigeria, revenue allocation. This is anathema to what the Ijaw people have consistently stood for over the years and which we have stated in the Kaiama declaration. And those who went to the conference said they are representing the people, yet they are discussing the opposite of what the people wanted.

"Bayelsa State is the only home land of the Ijaw people. This is the only place Ijaw people can breathe free air, yet the government sent people to Abuja to represent Ijaw people in the charade."

Asari insisted that the decisions of a sovereign national conference by all ethnic nationalities subject to a plebiscite is the only alternative that can prevent the Ijaw people from seceding from Nigeria.

According to him, the people had stated their position that they want to control the resources in their territory, stressing that discussing and negotiating over the same issue is futile.

Boycott
Meanwhile, South-south delegates who walked out of the conference have said they would not be returning to Abuja when the conference reconvenes Wednesday.

Speaking with Sunday Sun via phone, a notable delegate to the conference from Rivers State said despite several meetings with the leadership of the conference and their emissaries, no progress had been made towards fulfilling the demands of the zone.

Stating emphatically that "we are not returning" when the conference reconvenes Wednesday, he accused northern delegates of stonewalling during negotiations on the issues raised by the South-south.

The delegate while insisting on 50 per cent derivation principle, expressed disappointment that northern delegates who oppose any increase in the derivation principle to oil bearing states are themselves presently enjoying 100 per cent derivation on resources in their areas.

"Solid minerals are being mined in other parts of the country. Nothing comes to government from these activities. They are getting 100% and yet they bluntly refused to allow any increase in the derivation principle to us.

"For instance, diatomite, limestone, bauxite and even gold is being mined in the northern part of this country with no kobo coming to the Federal Government," he stated
While accusing northern delegates of being insincere even during negotiations, the Rivers State delegate said "this is the last bus-stop and we will have to take a decision."
Protest rocks Yenagoa

Also at the weekend, thousand of Bayelsa youths staged a peaceful protest against the decision of the on-going National Political Reforms Conference to give South- south states 17% derivation, even as Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha has said the proposed derivation percentage is totally unacceptable to the people.

The placards carrying youths began their march from downtown Yenagoa to the Government House singing solidarity songs and demanding 100% resource control.

Some of the placards read: "Bye Bye to Nigeria," "Enough of Northern Domination" and " Welcome to Niger Delta Republic"
One of the youths who identified himself simply as Alfred told Sunday Sun that they were demonstrating against what he called "insensitivity and deliberate wickedness of the Nigerian State."

According to him, the people want resource control because the suffering and environmental degradation visited on the people as a result of oil exploration and exploitation is too much to bear.

He maintained that other geo-political zones need to understand the trauma South- south states are passing through.

Alfred warned that the peaceful protest could turn bloody if those in Abuja refused to respond to the demands of the people.

Meanwhile, Governor Alamieyeseigha has pointed out that the issue of resource control needs to be properly understood by other regions because the South-south region is irrevocably committed to the struggle to actualise it.

Addressing a cross section of delegation from Kastina who were in the state from the palace of the Emir of Kastina, Alamieyeseigha urged other regions to support "the legitimate struggle of the South- south people to control their God- given wealth."

Speaking through the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Steve Azaiki, the governor argued that in a true federal state, federating units are expected to own and control their resources and pay taxes to the central government.

He said the issue of resource control is not about oil and gas producing states seeking to appropriate all revenue to the exclusion of other states, stressing that it is applicable to all natural resources derivable in Nigeria.
Alamieyeseigha told the delegation that Nigeria has not been able to attain greatness because there has been a clear absence of sincerity across borders, nothing that "We must accept and uphold the imperative of forming new alignments between the various ethnic religious divides as a joint venture enterprise towards attaining greatness."

OBJ MEETS NORTHERN GOVS
Barring a last-minute change, a meeting between the governors of the 19
northern states and President Olusegun Obasanjo, will hold today (Sunday) at the presidential villa.
The today’s meeting is coming on the trail of a meeting the president had with governors of the South-south zone yesterday in Abuja.

Though the agenda of today’s meeting was still secret at the press time, one of the invitees told Sunday Sun that he anticipates that the discussion will likely center on the turn of events at the confab last week.

At the yesterday’s meeting, sources told Sunday Sun that discussions dwelt on the tension generated in the polity by the threat of the South-south delegates to pull out of the confab over resource control.

Following the walk-out by the South-south delegates Tuesday, Northern delegates are believed to have planned their own walk-out Thursday necessitating adjournment of proceedings to Wednesday by the confab chairman, Justice Niki Tobi.

Today’s meeting is expected to dwell on the "threat posed to the confab".

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.