BENIN â€” OVER one thousand youths from Edo South Senatorial District defied the heavy down pour, yesterday, to protest alleged marginali-sation of Binis by the Federal Government and ceding of oil wells belonging to the area to Ondo and Delta states.
The protesters stormed the state House of Assembly and office of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, in Benin City.
They vowed to resist any attempt by some powerful individuals, both in the state and Abuja, to intimidate people from oil producing communities in the area, particularly as it concerned the award of contracts to foreign contractors rather than indigenous ones.
The Director of Mobilisation of the youth wing of Benin National Congress, BNC, Mr Steve Ogiugo, who led the protest, lamented that the Binis had suffered in the hands of some individuals from other parts of the state and Abuja.
He said it had resulted in the area losing most of its oil wells to neighbouring states.
According to him, â€œthe latest assault on the Binis was the attempt to move from our two local governments, Orhionmwon, an oil producing community and Uhunmwonde to Edo Central (Esan speaking area) by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in spite of earlier warning. So, we can no longer fold our arms and watch these injustices meted on us.
â€œThis is the context in which we have resolved to draw to the attention of the whole world that the people of the oil producing communities at Orhionmwon and in whose interest the Oben-Umoghun project was awarded, albeit dubiously, to an unknown contracting firm, have resolutely demanded for the immediate and unconditional review of the job in favour of the original indigenous company which bidded and was certified by the NDDC.
â€œLet it be on record that the high point of this protest is the burning of the effigy of the former governor of the state who is masterminding this.
â€œWe will not fail to drag them to the court of public opinion for their dubious attempt to alienate a peace-ful senatorial district, which consequences will be unpre-dictable and unpalatable.â€