Senior Special Assistant to the President, Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang has urged youth in the Niger Delta to be active in making sure that the area gets a fair share of all foreign loans obtained by Nigeria for developmental projects.
The presidential aide gave the charge when the Niger Delta Youth Council paid him a courtesy call on Wednesday in Abuja.
His words: “What should be your concern is that if we are taking loans for road and rail projects or whatever developmental projects in this country, what the loan is taken to do is also done in your state and the Niger Delta region because it is Nigeria that will pay for the loan and not the state where the project is located”.
“So we should ask our ministers, our politicians, our civil servants to be alert so that they can also contribute to ensure that when the loan is taken, it is also structured in a way that it will be beneficiary to all sections of the country”.
Senator Enang continued: “The minister of transport is not taking loan to do the railway as insinuated by certain section of the public. It is Nigeria that is taking loan to do the railways and other developmental projects and this loan we are taking is not without the laws. The loan is guided by Debt Management Office establishment act.
“Nigeria cannot take loan for any project or programme unless the conditions of the loan are laid before the National Assembly and approved by the National Assembly. The loan, first of all, has to be appraised by the Debt Management Office, it has to be laid before the Ministry of Finance.
“When that is done, it is transmitted to the President who will now forward it to the National Assembly. The law says that terms and conditions of those loans must be laid before National Assembly, and the country cannot take loan until the National Assembly approves those terms and conditions”.
To make it clear, Senator Enang cited the Debt Management Office Establishment Act part vi and vii, page D12-8, adding that “it is the concurrent resolution of the two chambers in the same work that can allow the loan to be taken. When people speak they don’t speak in reference of this, only Nigeria that can guarantee loan for state governments.
“These are the matter I thought I should draw your attention so that in making your advocacy, you should draw from intellectual basis because there is nothing that President Buhari is doing that is not govern by the law. Any of the matter that your think is not govern by the law of this country, it your right to go to court and let the court say, yes or no”.
According to a statement made available to The Dream Daily Newspaper in Abuja by his Chief Secretary, Edet Ekpoenyong Etuk, Senator Enang also called on the youth to advocate that the property or the investment for which the loan was taken should generate the income from which the loan should be repaid.
He assured them that “President Buhari is very determined to develop Nigeria and also conscious of every challenges the country is facing.”
Senator Enang said that the Presidency was concerned about Niger Delta shoreline protection, noting, however, that “shoreline protection alone will not solve the problem of the Niger Delta region.”
Senator Enang added: “We should be conscious and anxious about the possible earthquake or tremor if the vacuum or void created by the taking of oil keeps causing the sinking of the earth down and that is why water is coming up for which we need shoreline protection.
“Climate change is real and climate change brings about much heat. Much heat also leads to the melting of the ice which brings in more water into the ocean and bringing more water into the ocean brings in more water into the streams, into the creeks and also leads to more water on the land. This is scientific”.
He called on the “Niger Delta youth to be concerned about this and bring about suggestions of replacement or resettlement of some communities because definitely, some communities have been submerged by the earth-crust.”
President-General of the Niger Delta Youth Council of Nigeria, Comrade Ebiesuwa Samuel Esa, called on President Buhari to assist the region in infrastructural development land reclamation.
Esa also plead with the president to ensure that “those with the 13% derivation fund do the needful by giving us developmental projects and every money voted for development of the region is used judiciously.”