…Say ongoing constitution amendment in the National Assembly a mere facade meant to hoodwink the generality of the Nigerian masses
The Niger Delta Congress (NDC) and its Middle Belt counterpart, Middle Belt Patriotic Front (MBPF) have raised concerns over what they tagged “the deliberate neglect” of the two regions in the scheme of things in Nigeria.
The groups in a joint statement signed by Kemedengiyefa Opia, Secretary General of the Niger Delta Congress and Iorwuese Samuel, Secretary General of the Middle Belt Patriotic Front described the existing 1999 constitution as a document that embodies and entrenches injustice against the Niger Delta and the Middle Belt regions. It also condemned the degradation of communities in the Niger Delta and the massacre and occupation of areas in the Middle Belt.
The statement reads in full;
In prelude to the general elections, the Niger Delta Congress (NDC) and the Middle Belt Patriotic Front (MBPF) recognizes that there isn’t a comprehensive document that effectively captures the position of the Niger Delta and Middle Belt peoples as relates to our legitimate political interests and future.
While at the foundation of this is a leadership failure on the part of elected representatives from our regions, we believe our precarious position within the Nigerian Federation as a result of the injustices we have suffered is well documented historically and known to every section of this country and the rest of the world.
To this effect, the NDC and the MBPF held its Joint Conference on Tuesday 21st of February 2022 to deliberate on these issues as concerns us after which the Niger Delta and Middle Belt Position and Recommendations on the Nigerian Federation was unanimously adopted by all ethnic nationality representatives present.
While this comprehensive document will be forwarded to the relevant media organizations, elected political representatives, foreign governments, sociopolitical and ethnic representative groups, and other international and local organizations in due time, we deem it necessary to share with the general public a summary of our position and recommendations.
Our position is that the Nigerian Federation is built on injustice; That the current 1999 Nigerian Constitution which was foisted on our people and the rest of the country embodies and entrenches this injustice by legalizing it; That this 1999 Nigerian Constitution has been the main pillar in the sociopolitical and socioeconomic subjugation of our people; That the recent 1999 Nigerian Constitution amendment being undertaken by the National Assembly is a facade meant to hoodwink the generality of the Nigerian masses; That the Niger Delta and Middle Belt peoples reject the 1999 Constitution in its entirety and its ongoing fraudulent amendment.
In lieu of the above our recommendations are as follows: that a New Nigerian Constitution be developed with the input of all ethnic nationalities and their representative groups to ensure that it captures the hopes and aspirations of the different constituent parts that make up this country. That on the issue of resource governance and ownership, that the Hicks-Philipson recommendations of 1951 be adopted; Area of Origin 50%, States/Region 35%, Central Government 15%. This will give our people the freedom to harness, utilize and benefit form our God given mineral resources while also benefiting the rest of the country.
Taking into consideration the economic effects this change will have on states and regions who have become completely dependent on the Central Government, we recommend a phased increment spanning at most 10 years. This will give the dependent states and regions ample time to adjust and put in place economic mechanisms and structures to sustain them.
In addition to these, we also call for the comprehensive examination of the Niger Delta environment which is now a threat to lives, and a follow up cleanup. We also call for an emergency intervention in the Middle Belt to put a stop to the ethnic cleansing and land grabbing currently ongoing.
While the ethnic nationalities of the Niger Delta and Middle Belt expect the Nigerian state to right its wrongs to ensure its corporate survival, the Niger Delta and Middle Belt peoples under the leadership of the Niger Delta Congress and Middle Belt Patriotic Front are committed to cooperating and will continue to make actionable plans and take actionable steps to secure and guarantee the economic and political rights and future of the Niger Delta and Middle Belt peoples.
God bless the Niger Delta and Middle Belt Peoples.