State House of Assembly Speakers from the South-South and South East have urged the federal government to review the ownership structure of oil wells in the country.
Their stance echoes some of the central struggle of Niger Delta Avengers, MEND and others.
According to the Speakers, “Legislators of the Houses of Assembly in the South-south and South east can no longer watch helplessly as our region drifts aimlessly.
“Our people walk the razor edge under the strain of impoverishment, environmental degradation, insecurity and uncertainty.
“The federal government should set up adequate machinery that will ensure direct payment of derivative oil funds into the hands of Niger Delta Benefiting communities.
“The people of the Niger Delta region should possess at least 65 per cent of the oil wells contrary to the present ownership structure where less than 10 percent of the oil blocks belong to our people.
“Destruction of oil/gas installations and their impact on the ecosystem and the economy now takes a toll on us.
“The federal government should enter into peaceful dialogue with the critical stakeholders in the South-south and South-east in resolving the dispute and operate within the rule of engagement without incurring collateral damage,” the speakers said.
The legislators however urged youths to “Embrace dialogue and diplomacy and channel their grievances through various constituted platforms.
“They should among other things be charged with the responsibility to halt the rise of other offensive militant groups who may from time to time threaten to spring up.”
The lawmakers also asked President Buhari to request all security apparatchik to ensure protection of lives and properties.
“They must save the people of the geo-political zones from the hands of the marauding herdsmen.
“They should also establish special task force drawn from the various security agencies and neighborhood watch in each local government to checkmate the excesses of herdsmen and prosecute them.”
The legislators stated they would pass bills in their respective states barring grazing of cattle from one location to another through farmlands.
Speakers and Deputy Speakers of Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Rivers, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Enugu and Imo States were in attendance.