- Professor Yemi Osinbajo has said that the elites of the Niger Delta are to be blamed for the chaotic state of the region
- The acting president made the declaration at the stakeholders meeting of oil producing communities in Edo state
- Osinbajo said all projects that have for too long been abandoned, will be taken up again
- He said the government is ready to start dealing directly with the people
- The vice president noted that only through lasting peace and patience, can the desired dreams of the Niger Delta be achieved
Nigeria's acting president on Monday, March 6, states at the stakeholders meeting of oil producing communities in Benin, Edo sate, that the elites in the Niger Delta have over the years deprived the people the opportunity to enjoy the benefit of oil in their communities.
He ordered all contractors handling projects that have been abandoned to go back to site, vowing that any contractor who has collected money for a project and abandon same will be sent to jail.
Meanwhile, following an incoming call from President Muhammadu Bahuari, the acting President suspended the programme for three minutes and rushed out to pick the President’s call. He came back to continue the programme.
The programme was well attended and attracted representatives from the oil producing communities.
Some of the signatories include the host governor, Godwin Obaseki and his Deputy, Philip Shaibu, His Royal Highness, King Alfred Diette-Spiff represented the Pan Niger Delta Area Petroleum Producing Forum, PANDEF, the Minister of State Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachukwu, Minister of State, Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani.
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Others include representatives of the three oil producing communities of Ikpoba Okhai, Orhiomwon, Ovia North East. The Esogban of Benin Kingdom, Chief David Edebiri spoke on behalf of the the Ovia North East people, Johnson Acheghele spoke for Ikpoba Okhai people while Osaiten Osadolor spoke on behalf of Orhionmwon people.
Some others who spoke include civil society organisations, namely Director of African Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, Rev. David Ugolor and Chairman, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth International, Nimo Bassey.
However, the programme became chaotic for about 10 minutes when youths of Ijaw communities in Edo State led by ex-militant leader, Henry Binidodogha allias Egbema 1, stormed the venue to express their disappointment over the inability of the acting President to personally visit the communities, rather than “calling us to come and sit in this hall discussing what we don’t understand.”
He said: “We heard you said you cannot come because of lack of security, so we came to tell you that you should now leave our oil for us and go back, we are tired, our people are suffering and it is not a problem a town hall meeting will solve.”
It took the intervention of the deputy governor, Shaibu and security agents to douse the tension in the hall.
Obaseki, who spoke shortly after the incident, acknowledged the plight of the oil producing communities in the state and appealed to the Federal Government to look into the reports of the previous committees so as to find lasting solution to the problem of the Niger Delta people.