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Celebration in Abia as VP Osinbajo speaks for Abians again

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The Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has indicated that oil-producing communities in Abia State would have their deprivations resulting from oil activities redressed by the government and the state will also benefit along with others when modular refineries are established.

Speaking in Umuahia, the state capital, during the Niger Delta States Town Hall Meetings, Osinbajo said the Federal Government was designing a new partnership with the oil producing states, communities and stakeholders, including oil companies operating there.

He also reacted to some issues raised by the oil producing communities of Ukwa West Council, which ranged from exclusion from amnesty programmes, unemployment, stalled projects in the zone, including absence of a federal university, promising that the next amnesty programme would be effected with the full collaboration of the states, while the federal government’s commitment to youth employment and training would subsist.

He, however, stressed the need to use its present oil deposits to better the country and its citizenry, in view of the fact that export of the product and its perpetual availability may not subsist forever.

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu re-echoed the exclusion of the state from the amnesty programme, despite the claim by the Presidential Adviser on Niger Delta Affairs and Coordinator of the Amnesty Programme, Gen. Paul Boro, that 237 Abians had benefited from the programme.

Member representing Ukwa East and Ukwa West Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Nkem Abonta, while addressing the gathering, said: “We suffer for this impersonation. Those reported to have benefited from the programme are not Abians, because I had made numerous inquires in this regard and no beneficiary hailed from Ukwa.

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“We are just spectators; hence we want to be participants in this project.”

Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia South) called for the compensation of the communities who, despite suffering from oil activities and devastation, did not go violent or militant.

On how to make the Niger Delta Development Commission (NNDC) more effective, Mr. Sam Nwogu, an Asa community leader and immediate past commissioner representing the state in the commission, called for the amendment of the NNDC Act to make state representative-commissioners executive members and not part-time members.

He said as part-time members, they do not officially determine the projects, contracts and related matters.

Traditional ruler of Ipu in Ukwa West, Eze Young Ogbonna, said the meeting vindicates monarchs from the oil producing communities, whose youths are often accused of blocking them from dialoguing with the Federal Government on how to redress the injustices being meted out to them.

Other speakers at the meeting held at the International Conference Centre were Ministers of Niger Delta Affairs, Uguru Usani; Trade and Investment, Okey Enalamah; and Minister-of-State for Petroleum resources, Ibe Kachikwu, as well as former senate president, Chief Adolph Wabara, among others.

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