Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, his Rivers and Cross River states counterparts, Nyesom Wike and Ben Ayade, yesterday took turns slamming the federal government for agitations and youth restiveness in the Niger Delta region.
They spoke separately at a public lecture on security in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital on Tuesday with the theme: “Insecurity: socio-economic impacts and conflicts resolutions perspectives.”
Emmanuel said as the “main cash cow of the people” the federal government had not done much to address agitations and youth uprisings in the region.
He said, “I understand that there is a limit to which state government can go, the federal government’s presence in the region is not enough to address some of these issues that have given rise to the agitations from the Niger Delta region.”
The governor recalled that the PANDEFF met and articulated a 16-point development agenda of the region to federal government but regretted “that nothing has been done by the federal government to address the issues.”
He condemned the issue of International Oil Companies (IOC) citing their headquarters in Lagos and coming to their operational base to drill and kill their aquatic lives and plunder the environment.
He said that was not “a standard practice in developed countries.”
“In all over the world, where the OICs operate, they operate from the base. How come in Nigeria, they are completely different? All OICs are in Lagos and they are coming to drill oil and killing our aquatic lives and nothing is being done.
“Look at Akwa Ibom State, no oil depot, no roads no federal government infrastructure, yet the federal government spends billion dollars laying pipe lines to transport it to other areas of the country,” Governor Emmanuel said.
Governor Wike condemned what that he called “playing politics with security issues” by the federal government.
He said it was the greatest security threat in the country.
He argued that a situation where the Commissioner of Police deployed to his state was not allowed to work with him (as the chief security officer) to address security challenges in the state left much to be desired.
He therefore suggested that that there should be a cordial relationship between the Commissioners of Police and the state governors to be able to address security issues.
He argued that anything short of that would amount to insecurity.
In his short address the governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade blamed insecurity in the country on the inability of the federal, states and governments to address the fundamental needs of the people.
“A government that fails to address the fundamental needs of the people which is hunger has already failed,” he said.
He pointed out that the basic reason for youth uprising was the failure of government to provide food for the people.
In his remarks the chairman of the occasion, Mr. Usani Usani said cultism posed the greatest threat to national security
He said insecurity was the greatest threat to the socio-economic development and called on Nigerians to take the security as a personal business.
The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, in his welcome address said he considered the public lecture series across the geo-political zones very crucial in resolving the security challenges plaguing the country.
He expressed the hope that the lectures would assist the police in understanding different security challenges confronting the various geo-political zones and help articulate solutions and strategies to tackle them.
The IGP called on Niger Delta youth to shun militancy and other forms of criminality as a way of resolving their grievances.
He warned that the police were committed to ensuring that all forms of criminality were defeated.