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Post-amnesty : Imo Assembly protests N6bn allocation

Owerri—As the Federal Government begins to implement its post-amnesty programme, the Imo House of Assembly has protested the N6 billion provided the state for the development projects in the state.

The N6 billion is part of the N200 billion earmarked for such projects.

The State House of Assembly Speaker, Chief Goodluck Opiah, said on arrival at the Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri, yesterday from Abuja, that the lawmakers had already made their position known to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Ufot Ekaette, when they visited him recently in Abuja.

He said they also held discussions with the National Assembly members from Imo State as well as government bodies involved in the post-amnesty programme,  that the amount given to the state was “inadequate and unacceptable”.

Describing the budgetary allocation as unfair and shocking, Opiah said that oil producing communities in the state were sad over the low number of post-amnesty development projects allocated to the state.

The Speaker said the issues regarding oil exploration and exploitation were the same, and “Imo should not be left out in the scheme of things.

“The case of Imo should be the same with other Niger Delta states because we suffer the same ecological, economical and mental problems with other oil producing states. The quality of crude oil in Imo is not inferior to the quality of oil from the other parts of the Niger Delta. We share the same geographical terrain and common knowledge indicates that we suffer the same problems with them.’’

Commending President Umaru Yar’Adua for identifying amnesty as a panacea to militancy in the Niger Delta, Opiah noted that the problems of the region began with the discovery of oil in the area.

He said areas which had maintained peace during the period of militancy in the region should equally be commended and compensated for not choosing the path of violence to attract attention.

The Speaker said that in resolving the Niger Delta crisis, areas which maintained peace should be encouraged and not discarded or abandoned along with those which chose violence.


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