A Niger Delta ex-agitator Pastor Reuben Wilson on Monday blamed political leaders and public office holders at the federal level for the under-development of the Niger Delta region.
Wilson who is also National President of the Leadership, Peace and Cultural Development Initiative (LPCDI) regretted that despite the huge sums of money accruing to the region for the past two decades the region remained neglected.
Reuben who spoke in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa accused people from the region occupying federal offices of high level conspiracy to deliberately impoverish the region for selfish reasons.
According to him, it is painful that funds meant to develop the region were siphoned and diverted to private use just to exhibit affluent lifestyle at the detriment of the people who elected them.
He lamented the situation where contracts for the development of the area were awarded and monies paid without any visible project on ground, adding that the people of the region are frustrated by the gross under-development.
“The state and federal governments should do something about developing the area. We were agitating so that roads can get to our communities but nothing has been done.
“We need roads in the Niger Delta, but rather people are busy diverting and misappropriating funds meant to develop this region.
“That is the money people have been sharing in NDDC. People will get a contract and will not execute such contracts yet full payment will be made to them.
“My advice would rather go to the government at the centre, our ministers and leaders in the Niger Delta that they should try to bring development to the region and that is what the people need for now.
“Government should come down to our communities to see how the area can be developed.
“Look at my community, Koluama in Southern Ijaw LGA of Bayelsa now, there was an oil spill recently and no company has taken responsibility.
“The people’s livelihood has been affected and the people can no longer fish also the government has not done anything to impress on the company to clean up the spill.
“There was this Chevron North Apoi Gas Rig explosion in Koluama on 16th January, 2012 when Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was President and until now nothing has been done to bring succour to the people and the affected communities.
“Imagine the environmental effect of that Rig explosion on humans yet the neither the oil company that owned the Rig nor the government then did anything to ameliorate the impact of the explosion.
“I can recall that Dr. Goodluck directed that Mr. Kingsley Kuku, the then Amnesty boss to include the communities impacted by the Koluama gas explosion into the amnesty programme.
“But the present amnesty boss has refused to pay them their stipends and allowances, some of them are in their final year others are their third year.
“It is not a bad idea to bring in more youths into the programme but he should first of all pay those that have already been captured before thinking of implementing another 30 per cent for impacted communities,” Wilson said.