Commuters stranded as youths barricade highway in Delta
Buhari commissions new NCDMB hqtrs in Bayelsa
Niger Delta youths, yesterday in Kwale, headquarters of Ndokwa West council area of Delta State, made good their threat by blocking the ever-busy Ughelli-Ogwashi-Asaba expressway, leading to a gridlock that lasted from 4a.m. to 12noon.
They threatened to blow up pipelines and cripple oil activities if their demands are not met in seven days.Protesting under the aegis of Ndokwa Neku Union (NNU), the young men had earlier issued a 14-day Ultimatum to the Federal Government to address the more than century-old neglect of their oil-rich area that also comprises Ndokwa East and Ukwuani local councils.
The protesters said their patience had thinned out, alleging that the 16 oil firms operating in their communities had also abandoned them.
Shunning all earlier entreaties, it took over an hour for them to be dissuaded by a delegation from Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, led by Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, Ochor Christopher Ochor.
They eventually engaged the team, which included the Commissioner for Finance, Chief Okenmor Tilije, his Trade and Investment counterpart, Mr. Chika Ossai and two Executive Assistants to the Governor on Youth Affairs, Innocent Esewezie and Nnamdi Ezeshi, for a meeting holding today in Asaba.
Addressing a mammoth crowd, leader of the group, Comrade Anslem Omamuli, stated: “We are not here for fanfare. I want to sound it loud and clear to both the state and federal governments that our God-given resources deposited in our lands have become a real burden to us. That is why we have decided today (yesterday) to let both President Muhammadu Buhari and Govenor (Ifeanyi) Okowa know that if we cannot benefit from the crude oil in our land, they should leave the land for us to farm.
“It is sad to note that we are hosting over 16 oil companies in Ndokwa land which for over seven decades have been operating here with nothing to show for the huge resources they have taken away from our land, coupled with the devastating effect of oil prospecting and production over the decades.”
Leader of the delegation, Ochor, promised that the grievances would be addressed.
In another development, President Muhammadu Buhari has, in Abuja, carried out a virtual inauguration of the new headquarters building of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
He pledged to spend more on infrastructure across the federation, focusing on finishing projects delivered by local contractors and technology that creates jobs for thousands of Nigerians.
Buhari said the iconic 17-storey building, known as the Nigerian Content Tower, with the full complement of a 10MW power plant and 1000-seater conference centre, reflects his administration’s drive to provide amenities, attract investments, create jobs and eradicate poverty.
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