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Group protests abandoned roads for 41 years

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A group, under the auspices of Ndokwa/Ndoshimili Communities, yesterday, in Asaba, Delta State, staged a peaceful protest against their alleged continued marginalisation in roads and other infrastructures, especially an abandoned road project since 1978 and non-appointment of indigenes from the oil producing area into the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) since inception.

The protesters, who were at the premises of state House of Assembly, led by its Chairman, Organising Committee, Isaac Osakwe, and Secretary, Chinedu Ofulu, were received by the Speaker, Sheriff Oborewori, who promised to liaise with their representatives at the National Assembly on their NDDC request, while the state would look into their alleged marginalisation in road construction.

In the letter addressed to the Speaker and copied Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and President Muhammadu Buhari, titled, ‘Protest on our marginalisation in the construction of roads and NDDC appointments,’ they said: “Since the inception of civilian administration in Nigeria, we have written protest letters to every administration in Delta State on the need to construct the Asaba-Oko-Abala-Utchi-Okpai-Abalagada road, which transverse three local government areas. 

“The road eliminates the danger of traversing the River Niger at the mercy of pirates as the only means of transportation for these communities living on its banks and its tributaries.

“The road was awarded to Solel Boneh for N28million by the defunct Bendel State military administration and work commenced at the River Niger head bridge end as far back as 1978, only to be abandoned.” 

They recalled that the project was inherited by the Delta State Government and has been appearing as 10E in the yearly budget, with no administration ready to commit any money into it.

“We have also been producing oil, gas and electricity that service this country and the state since the early 1960s, with nothing to show for our contributions. 

“Pirates on the River Niger or Igbo cartel of traders seize or buy our goods at give-away prizes, because they know we cannot paddle the goods back home? If it took Saipem Construction Company only two weeks to bulldoze the road and make it drivable from Okpai to head bridge to connect the IPP high tension to Obosi, why is it so difficult for the state government to construct this road that has no bridge?”

They flayed the silence on their non-appointment into NDDC board by successive administrations, saying: “Since the inception of NDDC, Delta Central and South have monopolised all its appointments to the utter exclusion of Delta North.

“Delta North in general and Ndokwa as an oil-producing area in the zone has not had any member in the NDDC board, and equity demands that justice is fair.

Sadly, erosion has been ravaging most of our communities, with government doing nothing, despite the availability of the Ecological Fund, DESOPADEC and NDDC.” 


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