Deltans Must Take Lead in Oil & Gas Business -Briggs, Muoboghare, Others

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By Yemi Akintomide

Niger Delta activist Annkio Briggs, Professor Patrick Muoboghare, and other recognized experts on the Niger Delta economy have reacted to difficulties concerning the region’s oil-rich development.

They frowned at the situation where citizens from the Niger Delta region do not participate in the oil and gas business, while contributing to issues made by former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, who offered lectures on the Niger Delta economy during the 2021 Delta Online Publishers Forum.

Annkio Briggs, a well-known campaigner, believes the region is geographically well-positioned and endowed with human capital resources to propel it to new heights.

Briggs said; “When it comes to human capital resources, we have it; when it comes to physical location, we have. The people of the Niger Delta, as you know it, and the ethnic nationalities of the region have no business being poor.

“If today, after the struggle that we have put in, if we find ourselves in a position where we sit down to discuss the way forward and we are talking about how to get oil investment. How will our people invest when they are not even participants in the economy of the region. The people controlling the oil and gas privately are outside the region”.

She went on to say that the region possesses roughly 20 billion barrels of oil out of the 66 billion barrels that the country gets from the region.

“When we talk about the Niger Delta with a new face, we need to talk about a framework for implementation,” said Faith Nwadishi, one of the panelists. “We have talked about oil and gas in the Niger-Delta for a long time, but we haven’t grasped that while there is an oil and gas sector in the Niger Delta, there is no oil and gas economy.

“There is no community you will go where you will see striving oil and gas business”, describing the development as an indictment on the Niger Delta region.

She disclosed that if in 1956, about 5, 000 barrel of oil was exported and today over 1.2 million barrel of oil per day and that is yet to translate to the economy that the region is looking for, “there is an indictment on all of us”.


Another panelist, Dr. Ignatius Nwanze Ezoem, former Provost of the Federal College of Education (Technical), Asaba, ascribed the sufferings of the Niger Delta people to politicians.

“The problem of the Niger Delta is not what is going to be said. What has been said we ought to work with it. The Niger Delta region is a blessed region by God but today, we are still discussing the Niger Delta. I am worried because the Niger Delta that we are talking about, has all it takes to be the Los Angeles of Nigeria”.

He stated that the Nigerian factor emphasizes theory over practice, and he urged Niger Delta governors to put their thinking caps on rather than travel to Abuja to ask for what is properly theirs.

Similarly, Prof. Patrick Muoboghare, Delta state commissioner for Higher Education, noted that it was difficult for government at all levels to hire into the civil service, so the Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa-led government diversified into youth skills acquisition, which, according to him, has yielded the desired results.

“It is not the responsibility of government to set up a tomato factory, it is the responsibility of the private sector to see the opportunity to set up a tomato factory, “government gives the enabling environment for business to strive”, Muoboghare explained.

He said it is out of irresponsibility for anyone to tag Delta state a red zone, saying “Delta state is about the safest state to live in Nigeria today. Delta is a free zone”, he stated.

He pointed out that the colonial masters caused the agitations in the Niger Delta region.

He insisted: “They abandoned us, took our wealth away but when our boys started going to school and understanding the intricacies of the Nigerian state that we have been pushed against the wall. These boys are merely trying to resist oppression and the role of leadership is to talk them down not to resist”.

He called on the federal government to do the needful by way of relocating the Nigerian Navy to where it originally ought to be instead of siting it in Kano where there is no water.

“Let the federal government of Nigeria do the needful. They carried the Nigerian Navy to Kano where there is no water. To start with, remove that Naval school from Kano back to where Navy should be in the Niger Delta area. There is no technology that drives ship on land”, he said

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