MEMBERS of Kokodiagbene community in Gbaramatu kingdom of Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State, have completed a mega modern market abandoned about 15 years ago.
The market, with 40 lock-up shops, was started by oil giant, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), but was abandoned midway to rot away.
All efforts exerted to complete the market through the state and local governments were unsuccessful until members of the Ijaw community, led by its chairman, Comrade Sheriff Mulade, took the bull by the horn to pull resources together to complete the project.
Speaking at the inauguration of the market tagged Coastal Mega Market, on October 26 at Kokodiagbene, Comrade Mulade thanked everyone who graced the occasion, noting that the market was built by SPDC over 15 years ago, but later became an abandoned project.
He bemoaned how the abandoned project had denied the oil-rich community of its right to social infrastructural development.
According to him “We are very happy to see the official opening of this project, this project is over N20 million, this is something the state and local governments can easily do, but we the inhabitants have to save our own lives, and that is why we embarked on this project totalling 40 shops.”
He opined that if government’s desire for peace in various coastal communities in the Niger Delta must be achieved, it must prioritize infrastructural development in the region.
“Our call is that government should do the needful to bring peace to the Niger Delta region; government cannot say we need peace in the Niger Delta whereas it’s not doing its own part to allow peace to reign.
“This is the mainstay of the Nigeria economy; you cannot tell us to provide enabling environment to exploit oil and you refuse to develop the place,” Mulade retorted.
He called on government to do the needful by developing coastal communities and contribute effectively to the development of all areas where oil multinationals operate in the federation in order to arrest restiveness.
“We are calling on government and its agencies to come to our aid; we contribute a lot, 250 barrels of crude oil per day is not a joke; so let government do the needful; we are not supporting violence; we are not supporting vandalism; we condemn it because we don’t like it, but we are saying government should do the needful to allow peace reign,” the environmental activist pleaded.
On his part, chairman representing Ijaw ethnic nationality on the board of DESOPADEC, Chief FavourIzoukumor, said the commission was looking forward to ensuring proper social amenities across oil producing communities in the state.
He tagged the harsh economic downturn in recent time as one of the reasons for the non-commissioning of projects in oil producing areas in recent time.