Uduaghan wants criminal probe of oil spills in Niger Delta
Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan has advocated a criminal investigation into major oil spillages in the Niger Delta over the years.
He said the move ensure oil firms are held accountable, just like the British Petroleum is answering questions and facing several sanctions in the United States.
Speaking in Asaba at a reception organised for President Goodluck Jonathan as part of his one-day official visit to the state, Uduaghan said the criminal investigation was necessary to determine the extent of damage to the environment and the socio-economic development in the Niger-Delta.
Uduaghan appealed to the oil companies operating in the state to be more responsible and show great sense of commitment to the development of the state. He urged them to learn from the recent oil spill at the Gulf of Mexico, adding that the dream to change the face of Delta State is a collective effort of all concerned.
While showcasing some of the achievements of his administration, the Delta State governor identified agriculture as a major area of concentration. He said the state is already partnering with big time operators in the industry like the Obasanjo Farms Limited so that Delta can provide enough food and ensure self-sustenance.
“Agriculture, no doubt, remains the dominant enterprise of our people. Our agricultural policy is directed towards the attainment of food sufficiency and serenity including job creation and wealth generation.”
In terms of economic empowerment, Uduaghan said the state ranks among the best if not the best in the country. This, he said has earned Delta the Central Bank of Nigeria award a couple of times.
“I share the spot light with Mr. President as the recognition we received for addressing rural poverty and economic marginalisation of the poor through the Delta State micro credit scheme,” he said.
Uduaghan reiterated his administration's commitment to its electoral promise to promote peace security, infrastructural and human capital development, adding that the commissioning of the medical facility in Oghara and the naval logistic command headquarters was indicative of his desire to deliver democracy dividends to the people.
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan has again said his administration was committed to the socio-economic development of the Niger-Delta region with a view to making it more competitive in the global socio-political and economic scheme of things.
“Let me assure you that I am irrevocably committed to the development of the Niger-Delta. We must develop the region to restore confidence and hope among our people and children. To this end, let me assure you that the Niger-Delta Master Plan for development is on course and we will assist the NDDC and all the state governments.
“Since the beginning of the amnesty programme to this time, the state has been very stable and this is the beginning of development. Myself and all the governors from the region are working together. We hold meetings every month now, to ensure that we are on the same page because we can no longer allow the area to continue to lag behind. Whatever the government needs to do, we must all collectively do it, so that our children will no longer need to carry weapons to demand for development. The Delta State governor has started very well and we will encourage him to succeed.”
Jonathan, who was earlier in Oghara to commission Delta State University Teaching Hospital and Headquarters, Naval Logistics Command, canvassed the diversification of the Nigerian economy. He said: “Its a task that must be carried out by all of us. I am happy that Delta State is taking a leading position in that direction.”
He lauded Uduaghan's developmental strides and said: “Delta State is no doubt a major contributor to the nation's economic development and the Federal Government is appreciative of the contribution being made by this good state.
I must commend the governor for his achievement within these three years of services. I thank him for his effort, especially on the issue of peace and security including the delivery of democracy dividend to our people.”
Jonathan further explained that “The Nigerian Navy Logistics Command in Oghara, which we have just commissioned today (yesterday) is very critical to the realisation of the Masterplan and the peace in the region.”
The President said the security of the state and its water ways was of a paramount importance, not only to the people of the Niger- Delta, but also to the nation at large.
“This explains why the government will continue to invest in the modernisation of the armed forces and the regular updating of the weaponry to improve on their capacity and ability to deal decisively with any situation that demands attention,” he said.
He restated the resolve of his administration to correct the defects in the electoral process as we are all familiar with as the government is committed to a clean electoral process.
He urged the people of the state to take him as part of the state and assured them that, “anything that I can do to improve and assist the government to continue to do the good work it has been doing, I will surely do it”.
Jonathan also said: “Let me commend the governor for his initiative and vision of the state without oil.”
Several governors of states in the Niger-Delta as well as ministers and senior armed forces service chiefs, the police top brass as well as traditional and religious leaders, politicians, women groups and students were on hand to grace the two events.
The governors who joined the host, Uduaghan, to receive the president at the Benin Airport and escorted him to Oghara, include Peter Obi of Anambra State; Ikedi Ohakim of Imo State; Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa State; Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State; Liyel Imoke of Cross River State; Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State; and Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State. Uduaghan's Deputy, Prof Amos Utuama (SAN) and numerous state commissioners also attended the events.
President, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, the Delta State Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (C.A.N.), Archbishop God-do-well Avwomakpa, the Ogoni-Oghvworode of Olomu Kingdom, HRM Richard Ogbon, The Pere of Ogbe-Ijoh as well as the Chairman, DELSUTH Board, Prof Joseph A.M Otubu and DELSU Vice-Chancellor, Prof Eric Arubayi,
The Minister of Defence, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode; the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Paul Dike; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral I. I. Ibrahim; The Flag Officer Commanding Logistics Command, Rear Admiral O.F. Oketa, the Commanding Officer of NNS Delta, Henry Babalola, as well as retired senior service chiefs including Vice-Admiral Mike Akhigbe and Major-General David Ejoor also graced the launching of the naval facility.