Stealing, Corrupt Leaders, Politicians Responsible for Niger Delta Neglect – Osinbajo

Nigeria’s Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Monday said that people in the oil bearing communities and other key productive sectors of the economy across the country have suffered untold neglect and underdevelopment due to the insensitivity, stealing spree and corrupt activities of leaders and politicians entrusted with positions of trust.
Osinbajo said this during the stakeholders meeting he held at the Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia College, Benin, Edo State, as part of his interaction with oil producing communities with a view to proffering solutions to the crisis in the region.
He assured the nation’s oil-producing communities that the Federal Government’s new era and vision aimed at developing the region and other areas will boost development, unity and peaceful co-existence of all segments of the country.
This is even as he read the riot act to contractors handling government projects, especially those handling projects awarded by the management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), adding that the days of contractors who have not performed to expectation were numbered.
He disclosed that an audit body would soon be constituted to look into all the contracts awarded and monies spent on such projects, with a view to bringing the overall spendings before the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for necessary action.
According to the Acting President, the story of devastation remains the same across the country as farmers and fishing communities daily miss their means of livelihood while many were deprived in the process, adding, “elite everywhere and it is not just in the oil producing areas, have very frequently deprived the people of the opportunity to enjoy the fruit of the land.
“I have read out and I have listened to several of the complaints in several areas. I can tell you precisely how much had been voted of same in several of our own communities and there is no sign of development in those areas.
“I can tell you how many of these projects are supposed to have been completed and when you look into some books they said they had been completed but they have not been completed. They have not even been done, many have not even been started at all. That is the story not just in the oil producing communities of Edo state but it is the story everywhere.
“There is the story of neglect, there is many cases of corruption that have deprived our people at the expenses of people in the oil producing areas their means of livelihood for so many years.
“That is one of the issues that we intend to address and this is why I have come on behalf of the President and Commander In Chief to put a new way of doing things, to signpost a new era in the oil producing areas of Delta and everyone in Nigeria. This is an important engagement that we are not taking lightly at all.
“We are committed to every one of the things that we say we want to do, it does not make sense for leadership to look at the plight of the people, especially, in the oil producing areas. This is the source of the wealth of the nation and to ignore the people even if it is for a while; the time will come when you can no longer ignore them.
“So there is no question at all that we are committed to doing what we said we would do and that is a pledge coming directly from Mr. President himself. Muhammad Buhari,” Osinbajo said.
Midway into the stakeholders’ meeting, aggrieved elders and youths from Obe oil and gas producing community and other Ijaw communities of the state, staged a protest over alleged failure of the organisers to allow them to make their presentations and the inability of the Acting President’s team to visit the oil bearing communities to see things the way they are.
They vowed to make oil prospecting activities hard for multinational firms if their communities were not given the due attention in the scheme of things.
It took the intervention of key stakeholders, including the state Governor, Godwin Obaseki and a concerted pleas from the Acting President to douse the tension.
Osinbajo, who dispelled alleged fears of insecurity and violence amongst reasons why he failed to visit the communities, said the Federal Government’s plan was to ensure the team visits all of the oil producing communities but for the shortness of time frame for such visits due to the fear of the closure of Abuja airport on Tuesday, stressing that further arrangements would be made soon for a repeat visit.
According to him, as an “emissary of President Muhammadu Buhari, the visit was aimed at engaging the people and the leaderships to seek for better understanding and concerns as well as offer the oil communities a new vision and a new compass.”
The Acting President assured of a wholistic partnership between governments at all levels, oil firms and the civil society groups towards the development of the oil bearing communities and to treat them as special development areas focusing in particular on how to make the people feel the benefit of the land.
The stakeholders’ meeting was however punctuated by a telephone call from President Muhammadu Buhari to the Acting President for about 35 minutes before the various speakers from the oil bearing communities, local governments areas, traditional institutions and civil society organisations (CSOs), could continue with their presentations.
Details of the telephone conversation between Buhari who is receiving medical treatment at a London Hospital and Osinbajo was however not made public.

Author: News Editor

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