Isoko group demands NDDC MD position, end to gas flaring
The Isoko ethnic nationality of Delta State has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint a qualified Isoko indigene, as the next Managing Director of the Niger Development Commission (NDDC) for fairness, equity and justice.
Concerned professionals under the auspices of Enyaharo Isoko made the call after its virtual meeting where it appraised developments in the state and country and argued that the marginalisation of the Isoko nation must stop if the youths were to be prevailed upon not to disrupt oil activities in the area.
President of the group, Emos Iwary, said Delta State and the Federal Government had marginalised the Isoko nation enough in terms of federal appointments, stressing that gas flaring must stop in the area.
He stated that since Nigeria’s independence in 1960, no Isoko indigene has been appointed into cabinet position or headed a federal agency, lamenting that in spite of also being part of Bayelsa State’s oil producing areas, the Isoko have nothing to show for its contributions to the national purse.
Also, a member of Enyaharo Isoko, Dr. Edafe Asedegbega, enumerated the oil mining licenses in Isoko nation since April 5, 1960 since active oil mining activities started in the country, with Uzere perhaps being the second community after Oloibiri in commercial quantity.
“It is evident that the Isoko nation has been one of the major contributors to Nigerian economy since April 5, 1960, when the first exploration oil well, named Uzere East-1 was drilled by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in Isokoland. Today, Isoko contributes 35 per cent through oil production revenues to Delta State coffers as various communities in Isoko currently play host to oil mining licenses namely: OML 26, OML 28, OML 30, OML 56 & OML 6,” he said.
Asedegbega also noted that Isoko-speaking communities in Bayelsa State also contribute significantly to the national oil production pool, adding: “Also, they contribute 15 per cent oil revenue to the Bayelsa State Government in the OML 27, OML 32 and OML 61 platforms.”
He argued that NDDC as an interventionist agency has been hijacked by a few ethnic groups and state actors, adding that despite the quantum of oil and gas production and contribution to the nation’s economy, no Isoko person has been considered for the commanding height of NDDC board.
He noted that apart from the Urhobo and Delta Ijaw ethnic nationalities that have had shots like the Managing Director and Director of Finance in the time past, oil producing ethnic nationalities that are yet to be appointed into director level of the Board of NDDC are the Isoko, Itsekiri and Ukwuani.
Meanwhile, Iwary wondered why an ethnic nation that contributes so much to the national coffers should be treated as second-class citizens rather than being accorded the respect it deserves by including its indigenes in the governance process at the federal level.
He, therefore, said appointing an Isoko into the NDDC as managing director would be a significant step in assuaging the anger and frustration the Isoko nation currently feels.
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