WARRIâ€”FORMER Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, Pius Ewherido, coordinator of the Ijaw Monitoring Group (IMG), Comrade Joseph Evah and the chairman of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) in Delta State, Mr. Oghenejabor Ikimi, yesterday described as insulting and provocativeÂ the decision of the Federal Government to reverse the upgradeÂ of the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI), Effurun, WarriÂ inÂ Delta State.
However, the national Chairman of the Human Rights Defenders Organization of Nigeria (HURDON), Mr. Casely Omon-Irabor said, â€œit is not in everything that we, Niger-Deltans, should attack the Federal Government, querying are we not aware that the Federal Government has a Federal University of Technology and Petroleum Resources, here in Ugbomro, near Effurun in Delta State?
â€œHow can two Federal Universities of Petroleum be operating here in Delta State?Â Â Is that not duplication?Â Â What about the funding?â€
Chief Ewherido, who was visibly angry, told Vanguard â€œit is coming at a wrong time, a time when the Federal Government claimed it was restoring peace to the Niger-Delta.
â€œWhy is the government trying to build a Petroleum Training Institute that will be superior to the one in Warri at Kaduna?â€ He queried.
Comrade Evah said â€œit is a shame that we have nobody in the National Assembly, which is why Yarâ€™Adua is doing what he is doing.
Delta CDHR chairman, Mr. Ikimi asserted â€œwe,Â members of the CHDR, Delta State, do hereby condemn in very strong terms the Federal Governmentâ€™s provocative reversal of PTI, Effurun from a University status and the subsequent upgrade of the National College of Petroleum Studies, Kaduna, to the status of a higher institution at a whopping cost of N14.5 billion to train management manpower for the oil industry at the detriment of the ailing PTI in Effurun, Delta state, which under the present dispensation would train junior cadre in the oil industry .
â€œWe demand for the total reversal of decision, including the massive N10.4 billion Petroleum Development Trust Fund (PDTF) headquartersâ€™ building to be sited in Abuja , as the Niger-Delta struggle has been a fall-out of the years of injustices and deprivations of the people of the region by successive governments.
â€œThe above decision of the federal government is no doubt an insult and a slap on the face of Niger-Deltans. We call on the federal government to retain the Effurun PTI, as a university and in the interest of justice and peace,â€ he stated.
HURDON chairman, Barrister Omon-Irabor, nevertheless, said the decision to reverse the upgrade of PTI, Effurun, near Warri, by the federal government was in order, as the government made a mistake in the first instance by upgrading when there is a Federal University of Technology and Petroleum Resources in Ugbomro, also in Effurun, near Warri.