Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, has stated how he wishes to address the lingering issue of oil-related crimes in the Niger-Delta states including oil bunkering, illegal oil refining and vandalisation of pipelines.
The former two-term governor of Akwa Ibom State and immediate past Senate Minority Leader, stated this while speaking on his presidential ambition on Arise News on Friday, two days after declaring to join the 2023 presidential race at Ikot Ekpene Stadium in Akwa Ibom.
- 2023 Presidency: Sack Emefiele if he refuses to step down, Akeredolu tells Buhari
- Amaechi shuns question on Wike’s presidential ambition
Akpabio who announced his defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling APC three years ago, said his wealth of experience in the Niger Delta region as well as minister of the region’s affairs had sufficiently made him to be acquainted with the challenges of the oil-rich region and how to tackle oil-related crimes.
He said, “It’s always a question of what do we do to develop minorities of Nigeria, particularly the Niger-Delta region, and of course particularly the South-South region, where so much wealth is coming out but so little development was seen. And so people took to arms and struggled. A lot of developmental agencies failed because of one thing: corruption.
“So after sensitization, I would get the youth meaningfully employed. Because once you can get the youth meaningfully employed and then give them hope that their future is secure, I think they would stop all these things.”
Also speaking on zoning presidency, the minister said it would be better if the current status quo of zoning the position between the South and North was maintained.
He said, “The way we’re handling it is fantastic; we have the North and the South, let’s just keep it that way. If you want to dissect it, people will say let’s go smaller, let’s go to ethnic groups.
“I want to use an example with Adamawa State. To my knowledge, Adamawa has about 87 ethnic groups, so by the time you try to go down and down to micro zone, eventually it would come down to ‘let it be by ethnic group.’
So it’s better we keep it as North and South.”