Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Niger Delta Situation Now Controllable - Obasanjo

President Olusegun Oba-sanjo yesterday stated that, despite recent hos-tage takings and the death of an expatriate held hostage in the Niger Delta, the situation in the volatile area is now controllable.

Though he described the recent development as “unfortunate and embarrassing”, he however declared that the situation in the area "is becoming more controllable."
The President, in a meeting with members of the Honorary International Investors Council (HIIC) in State House yesterday, also noted that in addition to the establishment of the Niger Delta Development Comm-ission (NNDC), the recent setting up of the quarterly meeting of the All-Stakeholders Council on the Socio-Economic Development of the Niger Delta, had "opened a new way of doing things" in the region.

Obasanjo, who attributed the problem of the Niger Delta to "accumulated neglect of the past," and the misconception by some groups, particularly the youth, that the neglect could be corrected overnight, admitted collective guilt of individuals, communities, oil companies, local, state and Federal Governments.
He, however, noted that the youth had now come to realise that "this is the first time that somebody is doing something" meaningful in the area, and the "communities are now condemning hostage-taking," as an uncivilised way of expressing grievances.

Referring to the construction of the multi-billion naira East-West highway by the Federal Government that would open up Niger Delta hinterland within the next four years, the President said the youth "are now seeing that we mean business" in tackling the long neglect of the area which could not be remedied overnight.

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