By Festus Ahon
UGHELLIâ€”OKPE Union World Wide, an apex organization of the Okpe people in Delta State, has described the Petroleum Bill before the National Assembly as perilous and decried that the bill was aimed at further impoverishing the people of the Niger Delta.
This position is contained in a press statement issued by the unionâ€™s president, Professor Emrobome Idolor, at the end of an extraordinary enlarged executive session on in-dept analysis of recent unfolding circumstances in the country held at Sapele, Delta State.
The group said:Â â€œWith utmost disappointment that in addition to the ongoing military onslaught on Niger Deltans, another perilous bill that has no provision for the welfare of the people has emerged to finally nail them to the cross.
â€œIt is no exaggeration the degrees of environmental devastation where the people can no longer farm or fish, get jobs in the oil companies or have control over their God-given resources.
â€œAll natural habitats are gone with oil spillages and gas flaring, yet the Bill is deliberately silent about the people who suffer these consequences. This is callous and unacceptable.â€
Stressing that the Union and indeed Opke people were in support of the South-South governors on the issue of the Petroleum Bill, the group urged the National Assembly to throw away the Bill.Â “It is illogical and inhuman to strangle to death the hen that lays golden eggs,â€ the union stressed.
The union lamented the deplorable degree of devastation in the Niger Delta, particularly in the loss and displacement of lives and wanton destruction of properties occasioned by the deployment of the military to the area.
It also alleged that the federal government had continually shortchanged the region since the exploration and exploitation of oil in the region since 1958.