The Nigeria’s oil production has improved to 2.1 million barrel of crude oilafter peace initiatives between the Federal Government and Niger Delta leaders.
This new development was disclosed by Minister of State for Petroleum, Emmanuel Kachikwu after a two-hour meeting of Niger Delta stakeholders with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa Abuja.
Kachikwu, who brokered the peace meeting said: “The reality is that as of today and this morning, we are at 2.1 million barrels’ production. That’s substantial. That would not have happened without efforts that went behind through the royal fathers and leaders, through the militant leaders.
“A lot of behind-the-scene engagements had taken place and will continue to take place.
“If you look at 7 big wins that we set up last week, part of the expectations by 2017 is to target a zero shut as a result of result of militancy. What that means is that it is going to be an ongoing engagement. It will never finish.
“They also did ask for a review of the amnesty programm which they think was not going on well. They asked for a proper funding of the Niger delta ministry which they believe should be the seating point for development in the area.
“And they did ask for some level of support for the IDPs. This individual who were in the Niger delta area who have been moved out from the corridors because of the militancy that was going out there.
“Of course, they did ask for business opportunities for the people in the region especially the award of oil blocks to indigenes and surveillance contracts.”
Also speaking, the leader of Niger Delta Stakeholders, Mr. Edwin Clark that the meeting was mutual and fruitful.
He said: “It was largely a courtesy call to bring to the front burner the issues of the Niger Delta and the concerns. And we spent time hearing from the Niger Delta Leaders in terms of their areas of concern and what they believe the federal government should to bring down pressure and stress in the area and to bring down militancy to the barest minimum if not eliminated.
“It was fairly good, fairly civilized dialogue between all the parties. I did make a speech in terms of what the federal government direction should be. The President gave his ideas in terms of what his thought processes were. I think it is a frank conversation. It is the beginning of a process.
“We had over a hundred representatives. So, it was a very well attended function. Opinions given were very honest, very frank to the point. But I think at the end of the day, we exchanged enough thought processes to go back to the drawing board to begin a process of work”.
He also said that they had the blessing of various Militant Groups to represent their interest.
“One thing that gladdens our minds today when the Minister was addressing the audience, he mentioned that the issue of maritime university has been settled. We now have it, first goodwill from the government and we have a duty to react,” he added.
Meanwhile the Economic Confidential gathered that the Niger Delta leaders listed 16 demands that would guarantee lasting peace in the fragile region.
Responding to the demands, President Muhammadu Buhari assured the stakeholders that the demands would be studied with a view to ending economic sabotage and environmental degradation in the region.
The demands revolve around the presidential amnesty Programme; Law and Justice issues: the effect of increased military presence in the region; Plight of internally displaced persons; Ogoni clean-up and environmental remediation and the Maritime University Issue.
Other demands include Key regional critical infrastructure; security surveillance and protection of oil and gas infrastructure; Relocation of Administrative and Operational Headquarters of IOCs; Power supply; Economic development and empowerment; Inclusive participation in oil industry and ownership of oil blocs; Restructuring and funding of the NDDC; Restructuring the Niger Delta Ministry; the Bakassi Question and Fiscal federalism