Blame Niger Delta govs for violence in oil communities ― Ita Enang

Apparently worried by the glowing violence in the oil communities of Niger Delta, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to President Muhammdu Buhari on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang, has identified challenges of development as the major cause of restiveness bedeviling the zone.

Speaking in an interview in Uyo, the state capital at the weekend, Enang, heaped the blame on the governors, alleging that most of the funds drawn from the centre were not being properly utilized for the development of the oil communities.

Angry youths of the neglected oil communities in Ibeno, Oron, Eastern Obolo, Eket, have been up-in-arms against the local and international oil companies prospecting for crude in their waters with attendant devastation by oil spills without commensurate compensation package.

Recently, restive youths of Ibeno had shut down operations at Qua Iboe Terminal (QIT), accusing the American oil giant of deliberate marginalization of host communities in the areas of jobs and fair compensation for oil spill, gas flaring and environmental pollutions.

The Paramount Ruler of Eastern Obolo, Chief Harry Etetor, who currently lives in Uyo, the state capital because of insecurity and environmental pollution caused by gas flaring, lamented that his domain had been fouled by the oil companies without adequate development and compensation.

“My people are living in hell because our source of livelihood, fishing and farming has been destroyed by the activities of the oil companies. We have about five oil companies operating in this small community of Eastern Obolo that is bounds by the Atlantic ocean and yet, no meaningful development and proper compensation to the people,” the monarch laments, saying all entreaties for government intervention failed one after the other.

But Enang explained that the Niger Delta governors have elevated politics and other personal interest above the major issues of human and infrastructural development to the highest rung of their policies and programmes, thereby creating tension in the polity.

He revealed that apart from the statutory allocation from the Federation Account, the governors have not been able to effectively utilized the 13 percent special funds meant for the development of the oil producing communities of the Niger Delta.

“In fact, the 13 percent derivation has been impounded, kidnapped and embezzled by the state governments,” Enang alleged.

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