Buhari to Ijaw leaders: I won’t delay action on restructuring after constitution review

June 24, 2021
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President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to expedite action on restructuring, as soon as the national assembly concludes the relevant processes as it relates to reviewing the constitution.

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He stated this on Thursday, when he met with the national executive council of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), at the state house.

The INC delegation was led by Benjami Okaba, president of the congress.

According to a statement by Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, Buhari, while addressing their “call for immediate restructuring”, noted that “the national assembly whose responsibility it is to ensure that the constitution responds to the call for a restructured Nigeria has already concluded regional consultations”.

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‘‘As soon as they finalise the process, necessary action would not be delayed on my part,” Buhari was quoted to have said.

Buhari also commended the Ijaw leaders for promoting unity within the south-south region, and promised to ensure that his administration improves on efforts to address environmental degradation.

“He implored the leadership of the association to use its influence ‘in making sure that we keep working together to keep this country a united, indivisible entity, so that we can tackle our problems together and overcome our challenges together’,’’ the statement reads.

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“On the Hydrocarbon Remediation Project, President Buhari said he had directed the Federal Ministry of Environment to ensure that the remediation efforts in Ogoni are implemented with a high percentage of local content and inclusion of the surrounding communities.

“Similarly, the President said the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, under the same ministry of Environment, is working to ensure that oil spills are reduced and new ones prevented while all relevant agencies of government have been directed to ensure that they enforce compliance by the International Oil Companies to international best practices.

“On the creation of two additional states and more local government areas for the Ijaw people, the President said it is a legislative matter, which should naturally be handled by the National Assembly with concurrence at the state levels.

“On the allocation of operational licenses for marginal fields to Ijaw people, the President said while he completely agrees with the demand, ‘the process of granting licenses is guided by laid down rules and regulations, most of which even favour local content and local contractors. I see no reason why they should not be granted such licenses if they qualify’.”

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Buhari also promised to ensure that a new board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is inaugurated soon.

‘‘A contentious issue that has been a subject of discourse amongst the Ijaw people of recent has been the need for the Niger Delta Development Commission to live up to its billing by delivering the required succor to the people of the region,” he said.

‘‘Based on the mismanagement that had previously bedeviled the NDDC, a forensic audit was set up and the result is expected by the end of July 2021. I want to assure you that as soon as the forensic audit report is submitted and accepted, the NDDC Board will be inaugurated.

“However, I would like to implore you that the Ijaw National Congress should play a more active role in making sure that the mismanagement that occurred in the past is not repeated.”

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