The Isoko Advancement Network (IAN), a flagship socio-political organisation has expressed disappointment with the leadership of the National Assembly for blowing a muted trumpet over the motion raised on the floor of the Senate by the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, regarding the sale of gold worth N5billion by Zamfara State to the Central Bank of Nigeria.
In a statement issued at the end of an extraordinary meeting of the group by its Chairman, Chief Paul John Odhomor, the Network noted that the deafening silence of the Senators by deliberately refusing to debate the issue on the floor of the Senate sent dangerous signals to the people of the Niger Delta region who had contributed so much to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
” The IAN is aware that solid minerals is one of the items in the Exclusive Legislative List of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) like oil and gas. It is incredible that the man from Gusau can sell gold directly to the apex bank and an Isoko man from the Niger Delta cannot sell crude oil and gas directly to the NNPC “, the statement said.
The IAN frowned at this negative development and warned that inequitable handling of the exploitation of natural resources in Nigeria could trigger youth restiveness in the Niger Delta.
The body noted that the youth of the Niger Delta region were already agitated as there was no justification for the criminalization of their activities with oil and gas facilities in the region while their Zamfara counterparts approached the vault of the CBN as off takers of their gold.
The Isoko Advancement Network called on the Federal Government to implement relevant policies on solid mineral exploration and exploitation with a view to improving the balance sheet of the country.
The IAN also used the medium to commend the youth and all those who had shown character and dexterity in the protests for the ban of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and commended the Nigerian Police Force for responding to the concern of the ordinary Nigerian.
It, however, called for further steps towards building a strong Police Force through forward looking reforms, pointing out that international best practices in policing which supported training and improved conditions of service and community policing should be reinforced.