News / Africa

Niger Delta Leaders Say Acting President Must Show Commitment to Security

Acting President Goodluck Jonathan has just over one year before voters choose a new leader, or far less if President Umaru Yar'Adua recovers from a heart condition and resumes the powers of the presidency.

Multimedia

Audio

Leaders in Nigeria's troubled Niger Delta believe Acting President Goodluck Jonathan can make progress on resolving a rebellion over oil profits and environmental damage if he moves quickly to demonstrate his political commitment.

Acting President Jonathan says ending violence in the Niger Delta is one of the biggest priorities for his new administration. He has restructured the management of an amnesty plan for former fighters and says the first class of job training will begin this month.

But at the most, he has just over one year before voters choose a new leader. Or far less if President Umaru Yar'Adua recovers from a heart condition and resumes the powers of the presidency. So Mr. Jonathan is realistic about what he can accomplish in so short a time.

"These are issues that you cannot really say you are going to conclude in a year, because the issue of young men who have taken arms to fight the system and some of them the capacity is quite low," he explained.  "So it takes a lot of time to train them, even for them to be in position to make a living."

Mr. Jonathan says he is clearly focused on the problem and assures Nigerians that they will see progress.

So what do people in the Niger Delta think?

"Any project succeeding depends on the people who are the heads. Because if the head is bad, nothing can go well. If they really apply themselves to their jobs, something good will come out of it," explained Simeon Efundu, a former secretary in the Delta state government and a member of the region's elders' forum.

Efundu says Mr. Jonathan must closely watch how money for the Delta is being spent.

"There are some people who want to play politics of the stomach," he added.  "All they are thinking about is how I can be rich without caring what the masses are suffering."

Human rights activist Oke Joseph says Mr. Jonathan can bring peace to the Niger Delta if he shows the political will to follow through on developing the region.

"We don't need politics this time. We need commitment," noted Joseph.  "It depends on him. Political will. If he has it, he can do it. Anybody who has the political will can do it. But are they ready? That is the thing."

Chief Mike Ofere says Mr. Jonathan's decision to personally supervise the power ministry in his new cabinet shows he is serious about improving electricity for the Delta.

"He wants to make sure that power comes into place. We have been suffering darkness whereas in many places they are having light," said Ofere.

Chief Gabriel Gegbekpo says replacing President Yar'Adua's Cabinet gives Mr. Jonathan the opportunity to make real progress.

"With the change of Cabinet, there is going to be good things in this country," said Gegbekpo.  "There is going to be a perfect reform as far as this country is concerned politically, economically, and socially."

Acting President Jonathan says he will build on President Yar'Adua's Niger Delta amnesty plan under which thousands of gunmen turned in their weapons for a monthly stipend and the promise of job opportunities. The amnesty turned around what had been nearly four years of declining petroleum output because of kidnappings and sabotage in the Niger Delta.

Additional reporting for this story provided by Hilary Uguru in Nigeria.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid