Nigeria’s economy no doubt has been seriously affected by the activities of militants in the Niger Delta area of the country.
This has also derailed the plans of government, under the All Progressives Congress (APC) to deliver the promised change to the people.
The militants’ activities against the international oil companies in that region has hampered crude oil production, cutting output to way below expected level, which in turn has drastically reduced government’s income.
The 2016 budget has suffered a deficit, and government has resorted to borrowing to meet its financial needs, since over 80 per cent of its revenue comes from the sale of crude oil.
The region has also not known peace, as militarization of the area has continued to bring about clashes between the troops deployed there and the communities.
In efforts to restore peace, and guarantee the safety of its people, elders in the region led by a former federal commissioner of information, Chief Edwin Clark set up a Pan Niger Delta Elders Forum (PANDEF) which met with President Muhammadu Buhari to find a lasting solution to the crisis in the Niger Delta area.
The PANDEF laid out a number of conditions it said would guarantee peace in the region, resulting in the free flow of the black gold, with a win win situation for all sides in the crisis.
The Niger Delta elders among other things, asked the federal government for “inclusive participation in the oil industry and ownership of oil blocs.”
Ripples Nigeria went to town to seek the views of Nigerians in a survey poll on how they feel concerning such a demand, by the elders asking that oil blocs be allocated to people of the region.
The survey had as question, ‘Should President Buhari grant the request of Niger Delta elders for allocation of oil blocs’? and the choice of answers were: yes, no and indifferent.
A good number of Nigerians who took part in the survey reacted by saying ‘yes’, suggesting, that people from the Niger Delta region deserve to be allocated oil blocs, as a measure of resolving the long standing crisis in the region.
About 66.3 per cent of respondents who took part in the poll agreed that the federal government has to allocate oil blocks to people from the region in efforts to allow peace reign.
However, 28.4 per cent disagreed with the idea of granting oil blocks to people from the region while 5.3 per cent were indifferent about the issue.
After the meeting with the leaders however, government is yet to make any official pronouncement about the demands, but only promised to take a look at it.
In the meantime, militants have gone back to blowing up pipelines, and disrupting the free flow of the crude, even as troops continue to comb the creeks in search of them.
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