Jonathan urges peaceful resolution to Delta communal wrangle

ABUJA: PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has urged all parties to the communal dispute over the location and ownership of the site of the Gas Industrial Revolution Park to cooperate fully with ongoing efforts by the Federal and the Delta State governments to peacefully resolve all outstanding issues.

He said that was imperative so that the project could proceed apace for the benefit of local communities, all Nigerians and investors.

According to a statement by Reuben Abati, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Jonathan regretted the unnecessary controversy and acrimony that had arisen over the postponement of the ground-breaking ceremony for the project in the Warri South West Local Government Area.

Abati added that the President was saddened by the “very unjust, uncharitable and unwarranted” accusations of nepotism and partisanship that had been made against him in the wake of the postponement.

“The President is particularly dismayed by the unseemly resort to the abusive denigration of his personal integrity and the whipping up of divisive ethnic sentiments by parties to the totally needless communal disagreement that resulted in the decision to reschedule the ground-breaking event,” Abati stated.

He said it should be apparent to all Nigerians by now that while Jonathan might be affiliated to the Ijaw ethnic group by birth, he knew fully well that he was elected President of all Nigerians.

He had always shown by word and deed that he will always uphold the oath he swore on assumption of office to protect and promote the interests of all citizens with justice, equity and fairness to all as his guiding principles, Abati added.

“The elders, community leaders and parties to the dispute over the location and ground-breaking event for the Gas Industrial Revolution Park who have resorted to threats and accusations of partisanship against the President in press conferences and paid adverts in newspapers are therefore being most unfair to him and doing a great disservice to continuing efforts to forge greater national unity and peaceful coexistence of all Nigerians,” said Abati.

He assured all concerned persons that as the leader of the nation, President Jonathan would not side with any parties involved in the dispute.

“The project itself was conceived for the benefit of all Nigerians, not just Itsekiris, Ijaws, Urhobos or other ethnic groups in its immediate environment. In terms of employment opportunities, it is projected that the Gas Industrial Revolution Park will ultimately create up to three million jobs for Nigerians in its catchment area and other parts of the country.”

Abati further stated that all the people of Delta State and Nigerians living in other parts of the country would benefit greatly from the project by way of improved power supply and other ancillary products such as fertilizers, petrochemicals and more raw materials to boost local industrial production.

He said the postponement of the ground-breaking ceremony for the project earlier scheduled for last Friday was not in furtherance of any anti-Itsekiri agenda.

“It was borne out of the clear need to give all concerned parties more time to achieve the communal peace, understanding and harmony that will greatly facilitate the project’s speedy actualization for the benefit of Itsekiris, Ijaws, Urhobos, Ibos, Isokos and all other Nigerians.”

President Jonathan expects the respected elders and leaders of the concerned communities to heed the pleas of Federal and State government mediators and expeditiously resolve their differences for the good of all and the progress of the country.

“He looks forward to coming to perform the ground-breaking ceremony for the Gas Industrial Revolution Park very soon in conditions of communal peace, unity and harmony,” added Abati.