Non-implementation of Report: The Case for Niger Delta Technical Committee Report

By Nwaorgu Faustinus Chilee

It has always been said that the Nigerian government has good policies, programme or plan for its citizenry but what is lacking is the will to implement them to a logical conclusion. It is based on this backdrop that this piece is being done.

Perturbed by the intractable Niger Delta crisis, typified in hostage-taking, oil bunkering and the bombardment of oil pipe lines the Federal Government (FG) of Nigeria constituted a 45-member Technical Committee in September 2008 to collate and review all existing reports, literature, recommendations and attempts made in the past in order to solve the teething problem in the oil rich region.

The Niger Delta technical Committee was also setup in reaction to the wide condemnation of the appointment of Professor Ibrahim Gambari to chair the Niger Delta Summit, which was expected to come up with a workable plan on how best to tackle militancy and development needs of the region. The summit did not sail through as Gambari was criticized for his untoward comments he made in the past about late Kenule Saro Wiwa, a renowned Ogoni Activist and the role which the former (Gambari) played in the extra judicial execution of the Ogoni five during the heydays of General Sani Abacha.

The committee which was headed by the leader of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Ledum Mittee had 10 days to present its initial report to the President, Yar'Adua.

Mittee assured Nigerians and particularly Niger Deltans then that the committee will not disappoint the nation and added that the committee does not have the absolute power to implement the report. According him: “Above all, I can assure you that this committee will not fail the nation as we would produce a report that has such measurable and relevant recommendations that there will be little room for them to prematurely join previous volumes on the shelves”.

It is almost getting to one year now since the above committee submitted its reports to the FG. It seems the FG does not have the political will and sincerity to adopt the reports.

Apart from the creation of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the granting of amnesty to repentant militants, the Federal Government should know that the implementation of the reports will go a long way in fast-tracking peace and development in the region. The FG should not create any loopholes for the repentant militants to pull out from the amnesty deal by not implementing the reports for the militants are well aware of its existence.

It will be a great disservice and betrayal of trust reposed in the FG, if she does not execute the reports' recommendations which these seasoned sons and daughters of this nation worked hard to put together.

Only time will tell whether the reports of the Niger Delta Technical Committee will be implemented, or untimely join former volumes on the shelves. The time is ticking, tick- tack.

Nwaorgu Faustinus Chilee, a Scio-political commentator writes in from Igboeche, Port Harcourt , Rivers State