The first governor of the old Rivers State, His Highness Alfred Diete Spiff, has attributed the renewed militancy in the Niger Delta to unemployment, warning that the situation could become worse, should government at all levels, fail to address the increasing financial criss across the country.
He said this while speaking on the sideline at the 2016 edition of the Partners for Sustainable Development (PSD) Forum, organised by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), held in Port Harcourt, on Tuesday.
Spiff, who is also the Amanayabo of Twon-Brass Kingdom in Bayelsa State, further said youths in the region and the elderly, including pensioners, were not receiving their pension because the earnings had dropped drastically.
“Everybody is agitated and what you see is a spill over. When a kettle or pot boils, it spills over and so the Niger Delta is boiling. We are trying to get to the root of it and see how we can control and make everybody cool down,” he said.
He said the various state governments in the Niger Delta region could do little or nothing to arrest the situation as, according to him, the governors were battling with the issue of finance.
“The state governments are cash-strapped because the oil is not flowing and if it goes beyond this, the Federal Government will also be cash-strapped too. We must attend to these little problems and go from there,” he said.
The former military governor-cum traditional ruler, however, said the problem of militancy could be curbed if some steps (which he did not disclosed) were taken, adding, “It is quite simple; just some little things. In the Niger Delta, we say ‘kalaye opuye, opuye kalaye’, meaning one little step will be a mighty stride.”
Speaking on the Niger Delta of his dream, he said would have loved to see the region, being the “Treasure Base of the Nation”, attaining a level of development obtainable in Dubai and Kuwait.
“I would have like to see everybody in the region living like those in Dubai or Kuwait. They should be looking prosperous, confident and completely relaxed and cool.
“That is the Niger Delta I will like to see; where our children go to school. We also have top-level hospitals and other institutions and everybody is coming down here because they know this is the beehive-the land flowing with milk and honey, with the people themselves being given their rightful position.
“I will like to see a Niger Delta where everybody has peace of mind and equanimity and do not feel at all that they are being short-changed. I will like to see a Niger Delta where there is enough employment and where it is a joyful and happy family, proudly contributing and leading the nation’s economy,” he added.