ASABA/Nigeria: nA group under the auspices of Ndokwa/Ndoshinili Communities, recently in Asaba staged a peaceful protest on their continued marginalisation in the construction of roads and none appointment of indigenes from the oil producing area into the board of Niger Delta Development Corporation, NDDC, since inception.
The protest, which was held at the premises of Delta State House of Assembly, DTHA and led by Chairman, Organizing Committee, Hon. Isaac Osakwe and Secretary, Engr. Chinedu Ofulu, was received by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborewori, who promised to liaise with the Members representing the protesters at the National Assembly on their NDDC request, while the state will look into their marginalisation on road construction.
In the letter addressed to the Speaker and copied the governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa and President Muhammadu Buhari, titled, ‘Protest on our marginalization in the construction of Roads and NDDC Appointments’, the group stated, “Your Excellency, 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 as you already know eliminates the danger of traversing the River Niger as the only means of transportation for these communities living on its banks and its tributaries. The road was awarded to Solel Boneh for N28 million 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.
It further stated the said 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. Apart from voting alway for the PDP in every election and allowed to suffer this way, We have also been producing oil, gas and electricity that service this nation and the state since the early 60s with nothing to show for our contributions”.
“Your administration has done much around road construction to the extent that you have graduated to doing internal streets hence you have been christened “Road Master”. Sir, where is our own road? How can our loyalty to your party only be repaid with continuous hardship? 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?”
“Anambra State that has no oil wayback in 1976 had the foresight to create similar road from Onitsha to Ogwu-Ikpele (opposite Okpai) on the eastern flank of the Niger for her people, which we now use to avoid pirates”, they also pointed out, wondering, “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 Delta State Government to construct this road that has no bridge whatsoever?”
They also took a swipe at the silence on their appointment into NDDC by successive Government, saying, “Since the inception of NDDC, Delta Central and South have monopolized all its appointments to the utter exclusion of Delta North. Sadly, the Urhobo ethnic nationality has been NDDC board members for three times (twice as Managing Director and once as member representing Delta State), Isoko same number of times, Ijaw thrice and Itsekiri twice”.
“Delta North in general and Ndokwa as the only oil-producing area in the Senatorial zone has not had any member in the NDDC Board, and equity demands that Justice is fair. Sadly, sir, erosion has been ravaging most of our communities with government doing nothing despite the availability of the Ecological fund, DESOPADEC and NDDC”.