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Delta community protests over road construction

By Festus Ahon
UGHELLI — INDIGENES of Owevwe community in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State, yesterday, thronged the streets to protest against the non-construction of a 13-kilometre road in the area.

The protesters, mostly women and youths, barricaded the major road with a casket and disrupted traffic to Agbarha and other nearby communities.

Speaking with newsmen during the protest, the President-General of the community, Mr. Freeborn Adjanakpo, said the people decided to embark on the protest due to perceived unwillingness of the state government and Shell Petroleum Development Company, the multi-national oil company operating in the area, to construct the road.

He maintained that the state government and Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, had failed in their promises of constructing the road, adding that the people have been suffering untold hardship, particularly in the peak of the rainy season as a result of the deplorable state of the road.

The community leader disclosed that the community plays host to over 21 oil wells, a flow station, the largest pigging manifold in West Africa and a gas station producing over 14 barrel of crude oil and 1.5 million standard cubic feet of gas per day.

According to Ajanakpo, budgetary provision was made for the construction of the road by the state government in its 2009 budget and current 2010 budget.

He said all  the people wanted was actual construction of the road and not budgetary allocations which translate to nothing.

Also speaking with newsmen, the woman leader of the community, Mrs Mary Ohwo, lamented that the bad state of the road was adversely impacting the socio-economic activity of the people.

She said the management of SPDC was not being alive to its corporate social responsibility to the community and decried that teachers in the community’s primary and secondary schools were finding it difficult to get to the schools in the rainy season.

Chairman of the local government council, Mr Kenneth Ibru, appealed to the protesters to dismantle the barricades and go about their normal businesses, adding that the state government was working on plans to construct the road.


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