Oil, Minerals Producing Areas Develop Blueprint to End Niger Delta Crisis - My FrontPager

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Oil, Minerals Producing Areas Develop Blueprint to End Niger Delta Crisis

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Oil and Solid Mineral Producing Area Landlords’ Association of Nigeria, OMPALAN, yesterday, said it had developed a blue-print that would help end the lingering crisis in the Niger Delta and other minerals producing communities across the country.
Chairman, Board of Trustees and National Leader, OMPALAN, Mr. Udo Azogu, stated this in a statement in Abuja, after the group’s interactive meeting and presentation of letter of appointment to His Eminence, Sir Chukumela Nnam Obi as Patron of the Association.
Azogu said the blue-print is a bottom-up proposal that focuses primarily on transparency and due process in the delivery mechanism of Federal Government mitigation programs.

He said, “Our proposal for durable peace called ‘Mining Security & Monitoring Agency of Nigeria’ (MISMAN) hinges on a legal framework at the grassroots level that provides for transparent community governance called ‘Community Administration Council- CAC’.”
He added that MISMAN is also designed for solid mineral producing areas of Nigeria which have suffered untold environmental challenges from the ill-effects of mineral development- dating back to the geological expeditions by the colonial Master in the early part of the 20th century.

According to him, statistics of lead poisoning from solid mineral exploitation in the North of Nigeria is a great source of concern to OMPALAN.
Azogu said the group can help minimize the health risk from mining activities by ensuring proper legislation and enforcement of highest safety standards in the mining industry.
“Through provision of basic medical supplies and other critical needs, we can help reduce the sufferings of indigent communities whose agricultural lands and creeks that sustained these vulnerable communities over the years have been plundered by mining activities,” he noted.

He further explained that though oil is a national issue OMPALAN recognizes the need to give impacted local communities commensurate levels of attention in the administration of oil and gas in Nigeria.
Azogu lamented that over the years, oil producing areas of Nigeria have been plunged into deep political turmoil resulting in frequent interruptions of oil production; widespread agitation for resource control and better living standard in producing communities that suffer the brunt of heightening environmental challenges.

This, he said, had led to sustained armed struggle by militant organizations with host communities suffering the worst of it as oil facilities are systematically blown up causing severe oil spills that devastate the region’s rich agricultural lands and creeks.
 According to him, host communities also suffer heavy casualties in terms of precious life and property during encounter with security forces.

He said, “To address this painful anomaly successive Federal Government administrations rolled out ambitious palliative measures in quick succession such as the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Oil Derivation Fund Commission, Ecological Fund, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Presidential Amnesty Package, among others.
“Despite these robust mitigation schemes established to cushion the harsh effects of stiffening environmental challenges in vulnerable host communities the problems persisted largely because the political class hijacked the scheme thereby shortchanging local communities that produce oil and gas and preventing them from due access to democratic deliverables.”

However, Azogu maintained that OMPALAN believes that the issue of oil and gas requires a wider consultation of stakeholders across the country – bringing on board both the big and small producing states in order to nip the lingering crisis definitively in the bud and lay a solid foundation for lasting peace, equity and justice.
He said, “In order to restore sanity to the embattled Niger Delta region and provide a conducive investment climate for sustainable development goals OMPALAN is ramping up effort to mobilize the entire nation to present a common front to the challenges in the region.”

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