Prof. G G Darah the Delta State Chairman of PANDEF has posited that the threat by some Northern Cabals to ban Northern foodstuffs to Rivers State and Southern Nigeria is a welcome challenge.
Prof Darah the Delta State PANDEF leader who spoke extensively about the perceived imminent face- off said: “What food items does the North sell to us that cannot be produced in abundance down South? Beans, rice, potato, yams, cassava, etc, grow well in the Niger Delta.”
Continuing the erudite academic Don observed: “Ughwerun Kingdom of Urhobo leads in sweet potato for chips consumed in hotels, restaurants and food joints across Nigeria. Onions do well in northern/Ogoja area of Cross River. Our rain forests are fertile for peppers and diverse spices.”
He explained that all the farm needs of the people of the Niger Delta states are in the Plantain and banana belt which play host perhaps to the biggest plantain market specifically, the weekly one at Zarama in Bayelsa on the East-West Highway thus our carbohydrate needs are met.
He remarked that the Niger Delta can still support itself for their protein demands saying: ” As for our protein, we can be self-sufficient. because the Niger Delta region is naturally endowed as it has the highest number of rivers.
Prof Darah relying on dependable data from impeccable sources said: ” According to the World Bank publication of 1995, there are about 250 fish species. In 2003, Gòv Ibori of Delta State took a delegation to Thailand and saw fishery and shrimp ponds that stretched for kilometres. Asian agri experts visited Delta State in 2004 and used vehicles, canoes and helicopter to identify potential fishing havens from Tsekelewu near Ondo State boundary through Batere, Escravos, Forcados, Burutu, Odimodi, Agge/Aghoro, Bomadi, Patani, Umeh/Erhohwa, Asaba-Ase, Aboh, Onya Oko, Asaba and Ebu/Illah. The report they produced must be somewhere in Govt House, Asaba.
He added : “As for livestock we have adequate lands for breeding pigs, goats, sheep, poultry, ducks, turkey, pigeon, etc. Oil palm and raffia proliferate in the Niger Delta. In truth, what foods do Northern states transport to us that gives them the impudent voice to threaten a food embargo?”
He acknowledged that Perhaps the difficulty we may have is that our Southern politicians are unwilling to think and apply strategy to transform our natural resource abundance to wealth and prosperity for the general good.
While making his closing remark Prof. Darah maintained that: the Niger Delta people should encourage the northern food cabals to carry out their threat to stop food supply. That is when our politicians will realise that the business of governance is more serious than winning elections and riding in imported luxury jeeps he concluded .