By Ikenna Uwadileke
Abuja – Representative Peter Akpatason (APC) has urged Niger Delta people to exploit Acting President Yemi Osibanjo’s visit to negotiate on issues of immense benefit to the region.
Apkatason, who represents Akoko-Edo Federal Constituency of Edo state, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.
He was speaking on the need for peace in the area to sustain the daily production of 2.2 million barrels of oil toward generating the needed funds for the effective financing of the 2017 budget.
“Except there is peace in the Niger Delta and we are able to do 2.2 million or above, we will not have enough money to fund the budget.
“And I want to use this opportunity to call on our brothers in the Niger Delta to allow peace a chance and to use this opportunity of Mr Acting Presidents visit to the place to begin to negotiate for what they have always desired to have.’’
The lawmaker, who described the current restiveness in the region as unfortunate, stressed the need for dialogue.
He said funding of the budget had been inhibiting the execution of developmental projects in the country.
According to him, implementation has never been the problem, but funding.
“The reasons are two-fold, but majorly the crash in crude oil prices and the unfortunate situation in the Niger Delta.
“All parties played the game in a manner that escalated the situation in the area and then blame those who are aggrieved today; yes I equally agree that they too need to understand what is happening in the country today.
“At the end of the day you must still come to the negotiation table and opportunities like this must be fully maximised.
“The government has realised that there is need to talk and they have started talking this is an opportunity for the people of Niger Delta to get the best that they can get,’’ Akpatason said.
President Muhammadu Buhari in Dec. 14, 2016 presented a budget estimate of N7.3 trillion based on a benchmark crude oil price of US$42.5 per barrel and an oil production estimate of 2.2 million barrels per day.