(Left:Dr Shabba Umar and Alhaji Suleiman AB Yerima, president of the group)
Attended a press briefing today by the Northern Friends of the South South, a pressure group that wants the government to pay more attention to the issues affecting the Niger Delta.
They want among other things:
-that the federal government reverse the derivation formula to 50% for the producing region to what it was back before the Civil War in 1967. -that the fed govt pay all the funds accruing to the Delta region -that the fed govt not relinquish the Bakassi region to Cameroun. -that the fed govt refuse the help of the British and Americans in sending their military to the Niger Delta region knowing that force would only aggravate the situation like it has been in Iraq and Afghanistan. -that the militants in the Niger Delta sheath their swords and embrace dialogue. -that the Friends of the South South will continue to pursue the idea of one Nigeria and peace and unity for all.
It is interesting to note that a northern group would stand up for the people of the Niger Delta considering the fact that the North has always enjoyed the money from the Delta without feeling the pinch of environmental degradation that has almost destroyed the people there.
May we have many more groups like this that will be selfless enough to stand for other parts and ethnicities of the country other than theirs. I feel there's still hope for this country after all.
Graduate of University of Lagos and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife. Chief Editor, Goal.com Nigeria edition. Former Online Editor and West African Correspondent based in Ghana for TELL Magazine, Lagos. Alumnus International Institute of Journalism (INWENT), Berlin; Reuters Foundation and Agence France Presse (AFP) Foundation. Photographs published in USAToday, BBC Focus on Africa magazine, AllAfrica.com, The Guardian, ThisDay, The Punch, Showbiz and Daily Graphic (Ghana). Photos exhibited in Krakow, Poland. Nominee Journalist of the year at The Future Awards, Nigeria 2010.