Thursday, November 10, 2011

11 November 2011

Fuel subsidy: Jonathan won’t support anything anti-Nigeria- Seigha

MR Manager Seigha is the chairman of the Niger Delta Nationalities Forum in Lagos State. In this interview, he explains why the Federal Government needs to sensitize and enlighten Nigerians on what the nation stands to benefit from the planned removal of fuel subsidy. Excerpts:
There have been so much hues and cries by Nigerians over the planned removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal government. What is the position of your group?

Our position is that of listening to the position of majority of Nigerians, which is to say that the removal should still be kept at ambiance. However, my group is of the opinion that our brother, President Goodluck Jonathan, who has better information than anybody in this country and whom we know believes in one Nigeria and wants to make a mark, will not support anything that is anti-Nigeria. He will not support anything that will be a pain to the average Nigerian.

We want a government official who can explicitly explain in graphic terms, using the media, what Nigerians will benefit in the long run. The story that we have been told over 10 years ago, which is repeated, does not help his matter. But we agree that for him to have supported it means that there is something good in it. Once Nigerians get to know that there is something good for them, they are not going to fight against it.

16 years ago, Ken Saro-Wiwa was hanged for agitating clean up of Ogoniland as a result of oil spillage. Recently, the Ogoni people protested against failure of the Federal Government to implement the United Nations report on cleaning of the area. What is your position on this?

You will recall that it has been three months now that UNEP came up with the report that Ogoni land has been devastated with oil spillage for over 39 years and Shell has also accepted that about $1billion will be expended on the clean up project. With far reaching recommendations, one would have expected that three months after, we should be seeing medical and environmental experts from Shell in Ogoni land in conjunction with environmental experts from the Niger Delta and the Ogoni people working together.
To that extent, we are surprised that nothing is happening in Ogoni land three months after. I think government should be doing something but it is not enough to say that a presidential committee is being set up, we are interested in the output, which is what is happening in Ogoni land. We therefore plead that government should hasten whatever they are doing so that Ogoni people can feel their presence.

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