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Sunday, 6 November 2016

A former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Bassey Attah, who was among a delegation of Niger Delta elders and leaders who visited President Muhammadu Buhari in Aso Rock last week, has refuted claims that the elders demanded oil blocs from the Nigerian leader in order to end militancy in Niger Delta.

Attah speaking on Saturday said:
"Nobody went there to ask for any oil bloc. Nobody went there to ask for any contract. At the moment, there are in fact contracts awarded for surveillance to individuals and it has not helped the situation.

"What we suggested in our paper was that they should rejig these and find a way of awarding these contracts to the communities as it were, because it is a lot easier if it is the community that picks the responsibility for the pipelines that are passing through their areas rather than an individual. So, let the community feel a sense of participation.

"Right from the beginning, we tried to indicate that a sense of alienation is really the major cause of the problem in the Niger Delta. It does not matter how good the food is, if somebody ties your hands behind your back and says open your mouth and spoonfeeds you with the best meal in the world, you are not going to enjoy it.

"So, it does not matter how much you said you are giving back to the peope, if the people do not feel a sense of participation, of involvement, the alienation continues, then that is where we are having real issues.

“So, we asked for a review of this and people want to interpret it to mean that the Niger Deltans went there to ask for contracts."
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