By Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye
The apex decision making body of Isoko youths in Delta State, Isoko Youth Agenda, has advised the Federal Government to test run sales of national assets with Kaduna Refinery,
Kanji Dam and other establishments in the northern part of the country.
While kicking against the sale of the assets, the group advised federal government must consider reconciling with aggrieved Niger Delta and Biafra youths and other economic policies instead of “selling our collective patrimony” to address economic recession.
The call was contained in a speech presented by the acting President of IYA, Mr Sebastien Agbafe, during a meeting convened in Oleh, Isoko South Local Government Area of the state, by Mr. Charles Malam-Obi.
Agbefe noted that South-south youths would resist the sale of key national assets in the region, particularly in Isoko land, unless the Federal Government commence such exercise with the sale of ailing federal establishments including the Arewa Textile Mill and Arewa Television, among others.
He said, “This call (for assets sale) has been a cause for concern, especially from the people in the Niger Delta, where most of the assets enlisted for sales are situated. Isoko youths beg to differ and strongly reject the idea of selling national assets to revamp the nation’s ailing economy. We perceive ulterior motive and criminal intent which will only manifest on the long run.
“We can overcome recession through relaxation of stringent tax policies, introduction of tax holidays to woo foreign investors and creating enabling environment for existing and new businesses to thrive. The insecurity situation in the Niger Delta and agitations in South Eastern Nigeria urgently need to be resolved.
“If assets must be sold, Kaduna refinery, Kanji Dam, Arewa Textile Mill, Arewa Television and all the ailing federal establishments in the northern part of the country can be used as litmus test. The 21st century Nigeria is not the Nigeria of the 60’s and 80’s where a selected few determined and shared our collective patrimony with total disregard to the goose that lays the golden egg.
“The Isoko people plays host to seven oil fields in OML 26 and 30, covering an area of about 1.580sq/km and average production of about 300,000bpd, located onshore in the Isoko Area of Delta state.
“We are arguably, the highest producer of crude oil, onshore and there is a massive volume of untapped natural gas at Irri in Isoko south. We are host to both Agip and NPDC. These resources have been consistently harnessed without any form of interference by neither man (in form of protests or militant activities) nor natural occurrence leading to the declaration of force majeure since 1958 when production started at Uzere,” he added.
Agbefe lamented that in spite of the Isoko’s peaceful disposition in the face of huge contributions to national development and wellbeing, basic social amenities such as roads, houses, hospital , electricity and pipe borne water etc. are nonexistence in their area.
He traced the prevailing insecurity in Isoko land to the abject poverty amidst plenty and unbearable condition of living, stressing, “Unhappily, there are times when violence could be used to resist economic inequality and social injustices.”