Feb 25, 2008

Ogoni: Is A New Bank The Answer to Delta Woes?

Calls have been renewed for a development bank for oil revenues – but will it be a break from its corrupt predecessors?

Calls have been renewed for a development bank for oil revenues – but will it be a break from its corrupt predecessors?

Below is an article written by Chioma Gabriel of the Vanguard:

Senator David Dafinone has reiterated his call for the creation of a Bank for Reconstruction and Development for the Niger Delta which will function after the democratisation of the governance of resource rights of the people. The proposed Bank, into which all royalties from the oil companies will be paid, he said, will be the custodian of the funds, as well as preventing misuse of the funds now and in future.

Addressing journalists in Lagos, Dafinone explained that the Bank will lessen the effect of corruption in the disbursement of such funds, by drawing useful lessons from the experiences of Alberta in Canada and Alaska in the United States of America where similar Trust banks are created for such purposes ensuring that funds from non-renewable resources are not spent for the payment of salaries and travel.

On the N444.6billion [€2.6 billion] allocation in the 2008 Budget to the region for security, Senator David Dafinone argued that the allocation will not achieve the desired result but rather, the amount will be counter-productive because resentment of the state and the oil companies by the people will continue to deepen.

He also noted that state sponsors of terrorism cannot sustain oil exploration and production in the Niger Delta, adding that there can be no peace and guarantee for human security in the region without social, infrastructural and overall development of the area.

“Government must move away from the current piecemeal approach to the crisis and drop misplaced belief that a military solution can be found to the festering violence in the region. It is midnight in Niger Delta and the current methodology being adopted by treating the matter as an ethnic problem of the Ijaw, while omitting other nationalities such as the Ogoni, Urhobo, Ibibio, Effik, Itsekiri and Edo respectively is not in the interest of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

"I cannot subscribe to the theme that the use of force as a policy can bring about lasting peace to the region. It is imperative that Nigerians from regions other than the Niger Delta, who may feel that the problems of oil producing communities are not in their backyard and who may feel a safe distance from the oil communities, should be reminded that the Federal Republic of Nigeria is an entity within the environment; A decay in any part will ultimately affect the whole nation.”

“I feel challenged to cause a restoration of the people’s right to ownership of land and its content as it was under the pre-colonial period. There is urgent need to reorder the political, social and economic development of the Niger/Delta area as a necessary step to redress the numerous unresolved issues under the national question."