© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Osinbajo Explains Neglect Of N/Delta, Promises Change
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, on a visit to Edo State, has explained the seeming neglect of Niger Delta oil communities as due to corruption and insincerity of the political elites.
He also explained that the closure of Abuja airport affected his initial travel arrangement to visit oil communities in the state, stressing that he would eventually visit every oil-producing community in the State.
Osinbajo was reacting to complaint from some protesting Ijaw youths in the state who insisted the Acting President should have visited the oil communities to see first hand the devastation oil production has caused the environment where the people live.
A leader of the youth who was allowed to speak requested that the acting president leave Benin and head to oil producing parts of the state.
One of the protesters who represented Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, said that they had already prepared their region to receive the acting president, but were told he could not come due to security reasons.
“If you can’t come to our place, leave our oil alone,” he said.
Another protester said that the region was not feeling the impact of the ministry of Niger Delta like other states in the region.
Osinbajo agreed with speakers at the event that it appeared as though they were neglected by the federal government, but explained that over the years, corruption and insincerity on the part of the elite had contributed to the non-development of oil communities not only in Edo State, but across Nigeria.
He however assured that the administration of President Buhari is one that will do things differently and that soonest developmental projects will scatter across the Niger Delta region.
Osinbajo has been touring Niger Delta States and communities in order to assure the people of government’s commitment to their welfare.
He is in Edo State in continuation of his tour of oil producing communities in the Niger Delta region as part of efforts at bringing the insecurity situation in the region under control.
The Protesters broke into the venue of the meeting, shortly after the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru, had addressed the gathering.
They chanted songs and displayed placards to register their displeasure that the acting President did not deem it fit to visit the communities that produce so much crude oil from which the fortunes of the country come.
The youths said they would have preferred Osinbajo to witness first-hand the level of degradation the environment have suffered and the level of suffering the residents undergo as a result of oil exploration activities.
Not even the presence and intervention of the State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, could calm the angry youths down.
They were later placated and agreed to stop the protest, with Governor Obaseki saying that the reaction showed the nature of the Edo people who are not afraid to express themselves, but in a peaceful manner.
“We have issues like any other group in Nigeria, but at the end of the day we know how to resolve our issues,” Obaseki said.