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

    Ugandan Opposition Candidate: Only Intimidation, Vote Buying Can Prevent Victory

    Kizza Besigye says he has been drawing large crowds and claims he has widespred support ahead of Feb. 18 vote

    HRW: Both Sides in Ukraine Conflict Targeted, Used Schools

    Rights group documents how both sides in Ukraine conflict carried out attacks on schools and used them for military purposes

    Sanctions Just Got Real for Over 54,000 North Koreans

    Shuttering of Kaesong complex ends virtually any hope of peaceful settlement to long-standing tensions on Korean peninsula in near future

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.