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NIGER DELTA INTEGRITY GROUP (NDIG) …..for Integrity, justice & Good Governance

By Idumange John
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Being a Communiqu Jointly Issued By the Niger Delta Integrity Group, NDIG, & A Coalition of Civil Society Organizations on Saturday 17th of December after a One Day Interactive Session with the theme: Maximizing the Opportunities of Interventionist Agencies in the Niger Delta Region held at Bolton Hall, Hartford Hotels Limited, Port Harcourt-Rivers State

1. That fiscal federalism is crucial to sustainable development of Nigeria but that this condition cannot be realized until the Constitution is reviewed to bring about true federalism with autonomy for federating units and separation of powers between arms as well as tiers of government. Fiscal federalism will help Nigeria overcome the challenges of dearth of reliable data; lack of autonomy of the States and LGAs pervasive corruption, marginalization of ethnic minorities and inability to sustain development policies and programmes.

2. That while the fundamental causes of lack of national integration are being tackled, there is an urgent need to bring about structural balance under the tenets of the 1999 constitution by creating more States and local governments especially in those areas where glaring injustice remain in terms of revenue allocation and skewed political representation in minority areas like Bayelsa State with just 8 local Governments compared to Kano with 44 LGAs.

3. That the quality of political representation be improved from today's low standards which has denied Nigerians of necessary checks and balance provided for in the constitution making it impossible for the doctrine of separation of powers to take root leading to over dependence of the federating units on the centre coupled with rising corruption, poverty and unemployment.

4. That education can become a tool for sustainable development if policies are properly evaluated and aligned towards present technological advances; if education is made free, universal and compulsory and with adequate funding and a review of the curricula in tandem with the current trends of educational development around the world.

5. That the Niger Delta Region, which is historically disadvantaged in educational development should come together to set up a Secondary Education Board to oversee policy formulation and implementation. In addition, they should establish an Educo-Bank to ensure adequate funding of education that will blend theory and practice and techno-vocational in orientation.

6. That the Amnesty programme should be seen as a strategy for building the capacity of youths to build a formidable manpower base for the hydro-carbon industry and other real sectors of the emerging economy. Therefore, we demand an extension of the Amnesty programme to a third and fourth phases with more emphasis on non-combatants in a ratio the ratio of 40-60%. for combatants and non-combatants respectively. The Amnesty Initiative should also be extended to Boko Haram because we observed that the root cause of fundamentalist ideas is poverty, youth unemployment and a sense of anomie. The extension of the PAP is necessary to avoid a relapse to the spectre of colombianization and orgy of violence in the Region.

7. That the Land Use Act and Petroleum Act should be repealed as veritable first steps towards Government's commitment towards entrenching an equitable fiscal federalism. Only a fiscal federalism can enable the present administration to realize the goals of the transformational agenda of the federal government.

8. That most of the policy failures in the NDR are attributable to lacvk of cooperation and synergy. Therefore, the PAP should work in synergy with MONDA, NDDC and more importantly the MNCs basically in terms of complementarity and employment generation. The PAP has done well but the holistic implementation of the programme requires the cooperation of the States, the MNCs and other agencies. Presently, these agencies have not demonstrated the much-needed synergy.

9. That the federal government should establish a specialized Agency to clean up the Niger Delta environment to enhance sustainable development.

Idumange John Nwokedi Nworisara Charles M. Mopho

D/President NDIG Sec. General, NDIG Amnesty International, PHC