A former Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State Engr. Chris Ekpenyong has decried the worsening environmental degradation and poverty prevalent in the Niger Delta region describing it as pathetic and unacceptable.
Ekpenyong who spoke in an Interview in Uyo yesterday wondered if the Niger Delta region is still part of the country stressing that notwithstanding the quantum of resources taken from the region daily, there is nothing to show for it in return.
“Where do I start from, it bleeds my heart to see the level of poverty among the people of Niger Delta. It is unfortunate that with all the resources taken from the region, you hardly see good roads and other basic amenities across the communities in the region” he said.
The former Deputy Governor berated the former administration of Goodluck Jonathan for not doing much with his six years reign in the region lamenting that even the railway transport given to the north is still a pipe dream in the region.
Ekpenyong described as unacceptable the attitude of Elders of the region going cap in hand to the president begging for amenities and empowerment stressing that those are their rights as producers of the nation’s wealth.
“It is sad that our own ex-president Jonathan, our son could lead Nigeria for six years and we are still struggling to get basic amenities in this region and poverty tormenting our people.
More so, it is not acceptable that the region’s stakeholders go to president to beg for the projects when they should go demand and get the right”.
He opined that Nigeria nation will leap forward when her leaders address the challenges in NigerDelta region stressing that where there is peace, justice and equity; progress and development are inevitable.
Ekpenyong urged president Buhari to clean up the region and restore the ecosystem to enable Indigenes embark on massive Agriculture to feed themselves in the absence of white collar jobs.
He equally appealed to militants to embrace dialogue and peace in order to find a lasting solution to the several problems militating against development in the region.
He maintained that the Region should at all times be represented by men of character and integrity who believe in the collective interest of the region in future dialogue with federal government in order to achieve the desired result.