Oil producing communities in Edo ready to smile as Gov. Obaseki blast NDDC
Oil producing communities in Edo State will soon get their fair share of development as stakeholders engaged in an enlightenment campaign in Benin City on Thursday. The oil producing communities are located in Ovia North-East, Orhionmwon and Ikpoba-Okha local government councils.
The stakeholders meeting which had in attendance the minister of state, petroleum resources Dr. Ibe Kachikwu provided an opportunity for the oil producing communities in Edo State to table their various developmental concerns. Representatives from 3 oil producing communities located in 3 local governments in Edo State first made their presentations on key areas of developmental needs particularly on amnesty, road construction, job creation among others.
One of the representatives had this to say; “… Sir at the risk of our petition, we have been abandoned, marginalized, neglected, oppressed, under-developed and left in swallow by the multi national oil and gas prospecting companies.”
After listening to their presentations minister of state, petroleum resources Dr. Ibe Kachikwu thanked the people for their patience and peacefulness. He announced the setting up of a committee to identify developmental needs and work to address them within a specific timeline.
“… and what we are going to do at the end of this, we are setting up a committee of about 8 people. One from the government of Edo State, 3 from the oil communities, 1 from the ministry of petroleum, 1 person from Ministry of Niger Delta, 1 person from the oil companies, 1 person from security and that will be largely led by the Edo State government.
What we will do is that, all the specifics that you’ve mentioned, whether they’re roads, whether they’re hospitals, we will throw all of that into that committee. We will give them one month within which to come out with what we will call an MOU, that MOU will state that it will guarantee peace in consideration for us being able to deliver on the things that we’ve promised.”
He said the ministry has received 7 applications from modular refineries from Edo State and 3 have made an appreciable progress on completion. On his part the minister for Niger Delta Affairs Usani Uguru Usani commended the people for their peaceful nature assuring that the federal government is working behind the scene to address some of the issues raised. He noted that the people will be updated at every step taken by the federal government in this regard.
“… making sure the peace that I have witnessed so far is sustained. Government is doing everything possible. I am sure that some of the issues that have bugged our mind are not necessarily for public discuss. On account of this we have thought of a model by which we will be interacting with a set of people within the State to be communicating to you either through the governors office or any other forum such that at any given time the people of Edo State will know what government is doing in respect to the demands that have been made.”
In reaction, governor Godwin Obaseki noted that the state governor is in support of every point raised by the communities. He said the state will do a gap analysis on development needs and expectations.
You heard them loud and clear. I tell you there is nothing that they have said that the state government is not in support of. Once we have done those gap analysis, we will then sit down and have what we can measure in that MOU. Our proposal is that we are going to sit down, for every oil producing area. We will have a gap analysis, what the situation is now and what we expect it to be in certain point in time, the next one year, two years, three years. We will cost each one …
Governor Obaseki however criticized the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC for not living up to expectation in the state.
We can no longer accept the irresponsibility of NDDC. NDDC has almost been a curse to us in Edo State. Because on their own, they admitted that in the last 9 years, they have awarded almost 80 billion naira worth of contract and not up to 8 billion naira have been executed. Even those contracts executed have been done so shabbily and poorly. We have told them, if they do not step up, we will drive all their contractors from our sites.
He however thanked the federal government for speedily responding to those needs by setting up a committee and nominated the secretary to the Edo State Government Barr. Osarodion Ogie as chairman of the committee.
The stakeholders engagement and enlightenment in Niger Delta States is organized to sensitize and create awareness of on-going Federal government initiative in the region concerning modular refinery initiative, gas flare commercialization programme, strategic implementation
work plan and collaboration with State Government.