BY JIMITOTA ONOYUME
PORT HARCOURT: Idama, in AkukuToru local government area of Rivers state is a major oil producing community in the Niger Delta. It is a host community to Chevron and an impact community to Shell. Sadly inspite of the huge oil resource generated from the community the area can hardly boast of appreciable government presence.
Chief Bekinabo Benibo who spoke at the annual general meeting of the community organized under the aegis of Idama Empowerment Development Association, IEDA said even the local government which should ordinarily be the closest to communities had not impacted positively on Idama.
Chief Benibo who urged the Niger Delta Ministry to connect the community to the national grid also appealed to the local, state and federal government to make their presence felt in the area. “ We don’t have light in this community. We don’t have local , state and federal government presence. It is worst at the local government level. They said local government is the closest to the people, we don’t see this. Niger Delta Ministry give us light. The diesel we burn here is too enormous . We pray you to give us light. Niger delta Ministry will not sleep again until you give us light.
We have the largest number of graduates in Kalabari. Our graduates don’t have jobs”, he lamented. Chairman of the IEDA, Mr Dagogo Tubonegiyeofori lauded Chevron Nigeria limited for its meaningful contribution to the community, noting that the oil giant funds the Idama Empowerment Development Association, RDC under a global Memorandum of Understanding,GMoU the firm signed with the community.
According to the Chairman, Mr Tubonegiyeofori the GMOU had made it possible for the community to enjoy some comfort of modern civilization .” No doubt the RDC has recorded significant progress I. Terms of infrastructural projects. Indeed every development history has it’s challenging sides, and Idama RDC is not without some challenges. At present the only source of funding is the contribution from Chevron Nigeria limited under the GMOU”, he said.
He further appealed to government at all levels, interventionist agencies such as the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC and the Niger Delta Ministry to assist build capacity in the area. The Director Community Affairs in the Rivers state Ministry of Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Mr Edward Teneilabe, lauded the community for being a peaceful one, adding that it leaders had really used the opportunity created by the GMoU they went into with Chevron to the benefit of the area. He also urged them to sustain it. “This community has been a very peaceful one as far as the group is concern. They have also utilized the gains of the GMoU very well. I plead with the community to sustain this. The RTC has expended what was given to them very well.
“, he said. “They need a round of applause. As a ministry we advise that the RTC should look at human capital development. If you build capacity it will impact positively on the community.
So I plead to the leadership to consider this. They should also assist women with soft lomas to help grow them.”, he said.
Earlier the RDC gave a detailed account of income and expenditure to the community.