A former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Chief Timi Alaibe has described the death of Niger Delta Activist, Tony Uranta, as sad.
Alaibe in a statement at the weekend, recalled Uranta’s profound contribution to peace in the Niger Delta, especially his tireless efforts, alongside others which led to a ceasefire between the Federal Government and the dreaded militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) over the bombing of oil facilities in the region.
He said the Late Uranta who passed on last Wednesday, was a quintessential peace advocate who was completely sold out to the peace and development of the Niger Delta.
He said: “I recall in 2015 when the famed Niger Delta Avengers commenced activities to shut down oil installations and threatened oil production and the stability of the region. One day, Nduka Obaigbena, Tony and I travelled in Obaigbena’s private jet to Warri to meet the stakeholders; and subsequently to Abuja in an effort to achieve a cease fire and ensure peaceful resolution of the crisis. The deliberations of that first meeting, which was chaired by elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, eventually gave birth to PANDEF.
“Tony and I worked together on several strategic projects for the good of the Niger Delta people. They were all on development and peace initiatives. We shared common platforms; like the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), where he was Executive Secretary. Tony was Executive Secretary of the United Niger Delta Energy Development Security Strategy (UNDEDSS) and Executive Secretary of the Nigeria National Summit Group, among others.
“I remember with delight the commitment and exceptional determination Tony displayed when we both served as members of the Ledum Mitee-led Niger Delta Technical Committee constituted in 2008 by the late President Yar’Adua in response to the Niger Delta conflict; to address the medium to long term regional development in the oil-rich region”.
While expressing shock at the demise of the renowned activist, Alaibe noted that it is regretful that Uranta did not live long to reap the fruits of his labour of peace in the Niger Delta.
“His exit has come dozens of years ahead of its time. What shall we tell our children? He laboured and sweated for the Niger Delta but has not lived to reap the fruits of his labour. His voice was respected on national and regional issues. Today, that voice has been silenced in death. To his beloved wife Baarong, and the entire family, we pray for God’s guidance and strength. We have lost a great friend and a patriot; a man of principles and a distinguished gentleman. He was and would always remain a symbol of peace,” he said.