Akpabio made the appeal while speaking with newsmen at the Town Hall meeting on the Destruction of Oil Pipelines and Gas infrastructure, organized by the Ministry of Information and Culture at the NAF Conference Center, Abuja on Monday.
A release by his Chief Press Secretary, Jackson Udom, quoted the Minister as saying, “Let me appeal to my former colleagues in the National Assembly to pass the PIB Bill into law so that the people of the region will begin to have a new lease of life. Let them not allow the argument on the percentage delay the passage of the bill. Whatever you agree on, we will accept. At least, let us start from some where”.
“It is not the percentage that matters. The bill has been there for over 20 years. I am speaking for the Niger Delta people. Let them not use the issue of percentage to delay the passage. No matter the percentage approved, we will accept it, whether 3, 4 or even 5 percent. If they use it well, we can go back to demand for an increase.
” I want the people of the Niger Delta Region to begin to see what has not happened before in their life. These are people whose ecosystem and means of livelihood have been destroyed. The people have suffered enough. If they pass the bill, it will change the economic life of the people, their life style will also change, their living standard will also improve. If the bill is passed this week, I will be very happy.
The former Senate Minority leader also said that, ” I want to see most Niger Delta youths, women, the elders and children, being more educated about the environment and being more concerned about the environment and refraining from acts of vandalism. Even if they are lured, they will say no, I don’t want to destroy my land because 25 years after, I will be the one suffering from the impact”.
” Oil pollution affects the economy. Most of the aquatic life is gone. We have the best prawn in west Africa, which is a major source of income, but pollution of the waters is not allowing that kind of business to thrive. As a result of this, dead and poisoned fishes are allover the place, which has led to cancer and untimely death.”