Osinbajo visits Edo, pledges new way of doing things in Niger Delta
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday continued his peace tour of the Niger Delta with a visit to Edo State where he said the Federal Government was committed to a new way of doing things, especially in the oil producing communities and other parts of the country.
He stated this at a stakeholders’ meeting in Benin City where representatives of the three oil producing local government areas in the state and other interest groups discussed the way forward for peace and development.
Osinbajo remained calm even when some youths from Ijaw-speaking areas of the state staged a protest against neglect and abandonment in the state. The protest halted activities at the Samuel Ogbemudia Hall at the Ogbemudia College (formally New Era College) venue of the meeting for more than 15 minutes before normalcy was restored.
The acting president said President Muhammadu Buhari was worried about the situation in the Niger Delta and that was why the government organised several stakeholders’ meetings in the region last year.
Osinbajo lamented: “When you look at the books I can tell you how much has been voted into projects in several of our communities yet there is no sign of projects supposed to have been completed.”
He added: “We are trying to understand what the issues are. Everywhere I look, the story is same, many people have been deprived and corruption has deprived the people of the oil communities of infrastructural development.”
Osinbajo maintained: “This is an important engagement, we are not taking it lightly at all. The time we have spent in the past few days going from communities to communities shows that it is a serious engagement. We are committed to every one of the things we say we want to do.”
On abandoned projects, the acting president said the Federal Government, with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), had directed contractors, who have abandoned their jobs to go back to site. “We must make sure that anybody who was given a job and abandoned it be brought to book.”
There was a disruption of the programme when Osinbajo received a telephone call from President Buhari, when the chairman of the Environment Rights Action (ERA) Nnimmo Bassey was on the microphone and he was asked to stop. It was then that the programme moderator informed the audience that the acting president needed to be excused to receive a call from the president.Host Governor Godwin Obaseki said the mild interruption was a reflection of the feeling of neglect by the people of the region.