Governors of the south-south regional states have called for development and restructuring of the Niger-Delta region.
In a meeting with the presidential delegation held on Tuesday, the Chairman of the South-South Governors Forum, Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa said that states should be given more control over resources to promote sustainable development of its people.
The Chairman and current Governor of Delta State also spoke lengthly on the abandonment of South-South development amidst its vast natural resources.
The Chairman stated that there will be huge improvement when each state increases it’s ability to contribute to the national purse.
Other leaders present at the meeting held at the Government House in Port Harcourt, Rivers State were regional governors – Nyesom Wike of Rivers, Ben Ayade of Cross River, Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom, Douye Diri of Bayelsa, and Godwin Obaseki of Edo.
Also in attendance were Ovie Omo-Agege, deputy president of the senate; Godswill Akpabio, minister of Niger Delta; Timipre Sylva, minister of state for petroleum; Goddy Jedy Agba, minister of state for power; Festus Keyamo, minister of state for Niger Delta; Osagie Ehanire, minister of health; Lai Mohammed, minister of information; Mohammed Adamu, inspector-general of police, and Yusuf Bichi, director-general of the Department of State Services (DSS).
In a statement issued by Kelvin Ebiri, special assistant on media to the governor of Rivers, Okowa requested for immediate implementation of the consent judgment entered in the Supreme Court Suit No: SC/964/2016 to enable the South-South region get its share of $55billion shortfall of collection on deep offshore and inland basin production sharing contracts.
The governors also called for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the region’s major seaports in Port Harcourt, Calabar, Warri in order to enhance the economic development of the South-South region.
In addition, they demanded that the two refineries in Port Harcourt and one in Warri that have continued to bleed the country’s resources in the name of turn around maintenance, should be privatised.
The governors also expressed concerns about the situation at the NDDC, and stated a major failure of the intervention agency is its refusal to forge and foster synergy, consultation and cooperation with the state governments especially, on project location, development and execution.
They also voiced their concern about the NDDC no longer being allowed to execute any project in any state of the region without consulting the governments, saying that they have a court judgement to back their position.
Ibrahim Gambari who led the presidential delegation said the meeting was sanctioned by the president following the #EndSARS crisis and applauded the efforts of the South-South regional governors.
He went further to state that the present administration is fully aware of the region’s challenges whilst promising to present the demands of the governors to the president.