By Francis Tayor, Abuja
A renowned Niger Delta human and environmental rights activist, Comrade Sheriff Mulade has called for Niger Delta economic summit,urging Niger Delta governors to partner with the Federal government, development partners and IOCs operating in the area now in a bid to proffer solution that will halt looming economic crisis and to attract sustainable development and relevance to the region after oil and gas existence.
Comrade Sheriff who made the call at the weekend while speaking with journalists in Abuja, said that; “The Niger Delta region supposed to be economically vibrant not for the government alone but everyone from the oil rich region should feel the economic impact of being a Niger Deltan and a Nigerian”.
According to him also; ” We must create tourism centers now as oil will go into extinction soon, oil and gas activities will become irrelevant in the next 20 years, coupled with a bastardised, degraded and polluted environment, the effect will be devastating, our Niger Delta will be deserted and uninhabitable”.
“Niger Delta leaders, should come together in a summit to holistically look at issues and prospects of how the region could generate its own revenue base and alternative sources of economic development and sustainability of our environment”, he said
Comrade Mulade also expressed worries that the nation’s economy may suffer major setback and Niger Delta will be worst hit if the Nigeria economy is continually driven by the crude oil market without preparation for possible raining days should the oil finish.
He added that decisive step was needed to reposition the Niger Delta region for self sustaining venture by convening Niger Delta economic summit to galvanize, harness and utilize the tourism potentials of the region.
He advised the federal government to cut down needless spending for programme and agency that has failed to develop the region despite several commissions setup by the Federal government to develop the region, saying that; “Niger Delta still grapple with failed economic impacts, unemployment and a ruined environment. These are the issues that should be discussed at the summit.
“We need fundamental reforms that can stop the growing expenditures on failed commissions and agencies, which is well over 100 per cent with no cash flow for investment in infrastructure and tourism”, Comrade Mulade said.