The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Engineer Abubakar Momoh, has sought the collaboration of the traditional rulers in the Niger Delta region to achieve sustainable peace and security in the region.
Momoh made the request on Saturday evening when he led a delegation of the ministry on a visit to the Palace of Maj-Gen. Felix Mujakperuo (Rtd), Orhue I, the Orodje of Okpe Kingdom.
Addressing the forum of the Delta Traditional Rulers Council at the Palace, Momoh said that the Niger Delta was vital to the economic potential of the country.
He said that Delta was the seventh state delegation that had visited
in delivering the message of President Bola Tinubu across the Niger Delta region.
According to Momoh, they have visited visited Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ondo and Edo.
The minister said that the present administration held the traditional rulers in very high esteem, describing them as the custodians of peace in every community.
He disclosed that the government was aware that the Niger Delta was a very volatile region, noting that for the country to maximise its economic potential, Niger Delta must be peaceful.
“Peace and security are amongst the topmost priorities of Mr. President as contained in his policy mission.
“For us to have peace and security, there is no doubt that the traditional rulers and the governors of the states will be highly involved and that is why we are here.
“We started from the office of the governor of the state because when you are talking of physical stakeholders in any region, you should talk of the governor of the state and you know that the traditional rulers are the next in terms of hierarchy,” he said.
Momoh acknowledged the challenges of failed Federal roads across the Niger Delta region, in particular, the East-West Road.
He also said that the East-West Road should be extended to Benin City from the Warri axis and Uyo-Calabar from the Port Harcourt axis.
Momoh further said that the governors in the zone advocated that the road should be renamed South South Road.
“The Ologbo Road from the Benin axis is cut off completely and so many other roads in the region,” he noted.
The minister, however, promised to interface with his colleague in the Federal Ministry of Works with a view to fashioning out how best the roads could be constructed in a very short time to alleviate the suffering of the people.
Responding, the Orodje of Okpe kingdom who is the chairman of Delta Traditional Rulers Council,
pleaded that the East-West Road project be returned to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
Recall that the Federal government had in 2022 removed the road project from the custody of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to be handled by the Federal Ministry of Works.
“We plead that the East-West Road project should be returned to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs. It is very important,” he said.
The royal father who is also the Vice Chairman of the South-South Monarchs Forum decried the level of abandoned projects in the state by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) since its inception.
“The NDDC that is supposed to be executing projects in the region has not been doing anything. We have abandoned projects all over the state.
“We are feeling the pains in the Niger Delta region. For instance, we cannot get to Benin City our neighbouring state or Port Harcourt, even to get to Asaba is a great challenge.
“The Federal Government Road to Asaba is unpassable. Amukpe-Abraka-Agbor-Uromi is bad. It is as if the Niger Delta is not part of this country and that is very painful.
“So much money has been spent on the construction of roads in the past eight years, no road was awarded in the region. We feel very bad the way we are been treated.
“The traditional rulers in the South-South want to see President Bola Tinubu and tell him the way we are being treated.
“We the old people can take it, but the youth may not be able to take it, we want Nigeria to remain as one country but we should be treated equally,” he said.
The royal father said that the South-South Monarchs Forum had made several attempts to see the president without success.
He noted that the traditional rulers were closer to the people and understood their feelings.
“We are not seeking for position, we are only helping. The cases we settle in our palaces, High Court judges can not settle them in a year,” he said.
Among the royal fathers were: the Council’s Vice Chairman, the Pere of Akugbene Mien, Luke SP Kalanama VIII; the Ovie of Oghara Kingdom, Noble Eshemitan, Uku Oghara N’ame, Orefe III
Others were: the Ovie of Idjerhe Kingdom, Monday Whiskey, Udurhie I; and the Osuivie of Agbarho Kingdom, Samson Owheriijesu Ogugu I among others.
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