House Cautions against Use of Force in Niger Delta

  • Choice of official vehicles divide lawmakers

Damilola Oyedele in Abuja

The House of Representatives has cautioned the federal government on its use of force in its attempt to stop the attacks on oil facilities by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) in the region.

It advocated the formulation of a sustainable plan to end militancy in the region, rather than the confrontational approach being adopted.

The House also appealed to the (NDA), to cease the incessant attacks on oil pipelines and facilities and embrace dialogue.

Hon. Ekpenyong Ayi (Cross River PDP) and 30 others, in a motion, called for improved funding of the amnesty programme and a strategic plan to end militancy on the region.
The amnesty programme of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was instrumental to the rise on oil revenues and curbing militant activities in the region, Ayi recalled.

“The incessant attacks on oil facilities have led to Nigeria losing its place as Africa’s largest oil producer because it’s oil output has fallen to a 22 year low of 1.4 million barrels per day against the budgetary target of 2.2mbpd,” he said.

Ayi added that the huge slash in the budget for the amnesty programme from N55billion to N20billion threatens its sustainability.

“This has led to a resurgence of militancy, as the militants are being owed arrears of stipends which have in turned to slump in oil production, “the lawmaker said

The attacks, he added, have contributed to the low electricity output.
Meanwhile an executive session by members of the House of Representatives yesterday turned into a stormy session as the lawmakers argued over the choice of vehicles to be purchased for their oversight functions.

Some of the lawmakers favoured the Prado Land Cruiser Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) purchased for their Senate counterparts, while others argued in favour of the Toyota Camry 2016 model. Others expressed preference for the Peugeot 508.

The lawmakers espoused the advantages of their choices over the others. Those who canvassed for the Prado SUV pointed out its ability to smoothly navigate tough terrains, while the Camry advocates argued for its understated elegance alongside its durability.

A lawmaker who spoke with THISDAY off record, disclosed that tells champions of the Peugeot 508 noted that the manufacturer now assembles in Nigeria.

“We are talking about ‘buy Naija’,” the lawmaker said.
THISDAY gathered that most of the first timers preferred the Prado SUV, while old members okayed the other two choices.

“But with the slash in our budget, it is surprising that some would still want us to buy Prado suit,” the lawmaker added.

Chairman of the Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas, a few weeks ago had said the House would purchase 360 Peugeot 508 cars for each of its members for their oversight functions.