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Nigeria: Federal Government Seeks More British Involvement in Resolution of N’ Delta Crises

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Nigeria: FG Seeks More British Involvement in Resolution of N’ Delta Crises

Vanguard (Lagos)

Kingsley Omonobi
Lagos

THE Federal Government said yesterday it would like Britain as a stakeholder in the Niger Delta area of the country by way of being the owners of Shell Petroleum Company, to show more interest in the resolution of the multi-faceted problems ravaging the area.

Defence Minister, Mahmud Yayale Ahmed who made the disclosure after he and the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Robins Dewar signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in his office, noted that “a situation where British oil giants, SHELL has continued to be the largest investor, explorer and owner in the oil industry in Nigeria with more than 50 per cent holdings, and yet they show little interest in the resolution of the crises there is unacceptable”.

“Therefore, British interest and Nigeria’s interest as far as cooperation in resolving the Niger Delta crisis, should be a must for us. The Niger Delta issue should not be seen as a Nigerian problem alone. We have joint responsibility of seeing off all criminal elements in that area”.

“That means that companies like Shell, and Mobil that are UK concerns that are given opportunities to operate without hindrance should join hands in addressing these problems that we all know about”.

Continuing he said, “We all know that anything affecting oil production in Nigeria, results into negative consequences for international market. Even in Britain, recent increase that led to tanker protest for instance, was seen all over world”.

“So we are saying that the overall effect of instability in the Niger Delta is bad for world economy. That is why we are calling on all stakeholders to be part of the new initiative of government aimed at resolving the issues in that area.

On the MOU, the minister expressed the hope that it would re-invigorate the economic, social and political relationship between Nigeria and Britain.

“I have observed with concern, the dwindling cooperation between Nigeria and UK. Considering the historical ties between our countries, this dwindling cooperation has allowed others to come in penetrated more into our Defence programmes”.

“In relation to the transformation of the armed forces” the minister said, “It is gladdening to note that following my earlier observation at another forum, Britain is now ready to play their expected role. Having learnt from the British best tradition, we feel that the cooperation of UK to our peacekeeping contributions should be more than presently exist. We desire and require more from Britain towards our conduct and commitment”.

Earlier, the British High Commissioner explained that the MOU was aimed at providing the legal framework for military training and the role if its advisers regarding their work in Nigeria.

“Britain admires the role of Nigeria in peacekeeping not only in African countries like Liberia and Sierra Leone and Darfur, but in other parts of the world. We are happy to work with you in the training and enhancement of capacity in peace support operations” he said.

Mr. Dewar expressed his country’s condolences on the death of 46 Nigerian military personnel who recently died following a motor accident after arriving their fatherland and prayed God to grant their families the fortitude to bear the loss.

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