The Executive Director of Optimistic Outlook, Mr. Somi Uranta, has called on the federal government of Nigeria to promptly pay reparations to the oil producing Niger Delta region for the degradation and pollution the area has suffered since oil was first discovered in commercial quantity in Oloibiri in the late 1950s.
Uranta, who is the younger brother of the late activist, Tony Uranta, made this call on Tuesday, January 1, 2022, in Lagos as part of activities to formally unveil Optimistic Outlook, his non-governmental organisation (NGO).
He insisted that the current condition of the Niger Delta, has reached embarrassing an situation that unless the area is properly and well taken care of and not the lip service of successive governments including the present one, things would continue not to be well with the country.
He likened Niger Delta, which he claimed produces more than 90 percent of the resources with which other parts of the country is developed, to a proverbial woman who gives birth to twins and triplets each time she delivers, but virtually gets nothing in return.
“Her children were not only taken from her, the husband was equally killed and the community took turns to rape her until she gave up.”
That, he said, is what is playing out in the Niger Delta. He called on the federal government to halt it by urgently paying reparation that will engineer genuine development of the area.
“Once upon a time there lived a very productive and fertile woman who always bore twins and triplets every time she gets close to her husband. She was so productive that her community became envious of her family and then conspired and killed her husband.
“They took her children away and commenced raping and an abusing spree on her. The community so debased, bartered and bespattered this woman that she couldn’t even set her eyes on any of her children, not to talk of reaping from the fruit of her labour.
“After a long while, the community became diseased. The Laws of Retributive Justice, of Boomerang, of Karma, of cause and effect, has set in. Things have fallen greatly apart and the centre could no longer hold. Every single step forward resulted in 10 steps backward.
“The only panacea, the only solution to resolving the problems confronting the community is to do a restitution, an atonement for the mindless evils meted out to this woman and her family.The pitiful story of this woman and her family typifies the Nigerian State and the Niger Delta, where over 95% of her export earnings comes from since 1958 when oil was discovered in Oloibiri, till present day,” he narrated.
Uranta, who is a regular face on media stations like Galaxy TV, STV, MITV, Star FM, UNILAG FM and YABATECH FM’s current affairs and motivational programmes, claimed that over $600 billion in oil wealth has been earned by the Nigerian nation from the area and leaving a despicable trail of environmental pollution, social abuses, economic disenfranchisement and even spiritual stagnation behind in the Niger Delta.
He narrated how, as a child growing up in Queens Town, Opobo, Rivers State, his mother used to tell him the kind of fish she wants for dinner and, in a matter of hours, he would catch the fish.
“But that is no more now because our means of livelihood as a people has been systematically destroyed by the resultant effects of our mindless exploitation and exploration of oil in the Niger Delta. We cannot fish, we cannot farm, we cannot even sleep at night due to gas flaring. We cannot drink rain water, because of it’s acidic content. We can’t even breathe in fresh air, yet the stupendous petrol dollars extracted from the soil of the South South and a few other states, is being used for the development of the entire nation, except the Niger Delta region.
“This is tyranny of the majority against the minority. This is tyranny of the many against the few. This is man’s inhumanity to man. Crude oil has been more of a curse to the Niger Delta region than a blessing,” he said.
The wheel of natural justice and equity, he warned, “thrives on fairness and justice and therefore, every act of inequity, unfairness and injustice must be revisited with a double penalty of the infractions.”