A cross-section of delegates at the All Progressives Congress (APC) State Congress, on Saturday in Benin City, May 19, 2018.
By SIMON EBEGBULEM
BENIN CITY-THE Benin National Congress (BNC), a socio-cultural organization in Edo state has condemned what it described as alleged deliberate exclusion of the Benin ethnic nationality from the Amnesty programs of the Federal Government.
In a letter signed by the President of the BNC, Aiyemenkhue Edokpolo, addressed to the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, the BNC noted that the alleged deliberate exclusion of Benin youths from the amnesty programme was provoking youths into self-help and uncontrollable hostilities.
According to the letter, “We write to formally place on record our condemnation of the unintelligent and malicious orchestration of very vexatious and provocative ploy to provoke Benin youths of the seven oil and gas resources and pipelines bearing Local Government Areas of Edo South senatorial districts predominantly owned and occupied by the Benin people into unwholesome militancy; with the unpleasant consequences of complicating the terse insecurity in Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
“The Benin ethnic nationality is arguably the ‘chief parent’ of all ethnic groups in South-South Nigeria with a flourished history and monarchy in Guinness book of records dating over 700 years existence of pre-western civilization.
“As a foremost sociocultural entity of the Benins, we have watched with consternation a pseudo policy of State which lend credence to a worthy conclusion that our ethnic nationality has been formally excluded by the Federal Government from benefiting from the poverty alleviation, and human capital development objectives of the Amnesty program for reasons best known to an unseen centrifugal element.
“And we fear that our elites and community leaders might be blamed for any militant response by Benin youths whose only vent for expression of the frustrations is unbridled hostilities against oil and gas multinationals and their auxiliary pipelines protection managers. It is to forestall this clear and potent danger that the members and trustees hereunder represented by the signatories decided to formally intimate you with a view to obtaining unambiguous clarifications.
“For the, the Benins occupies about 60% of Edo State landmass, and account for 58% of the States total population (2.7m) spread across the seven (7) Local Government Areas of Edo South senatorial district with not less than 89% percent Benin ancestral indigenes and Benin language speaking culture, and it is on behalf of the this people that we advance the allegation of brazen exclusion from the lofty programs of your office, and we seek immediate and unconditional restitution and or compensation for the past misdeeds and stereotype as non-relevant factor.
“Without much ado lets state clearly for your information that largest gas processing terminal in West Africa in located in Oben gas field of Orhiomwon Local Government Area, other Local Government areas of Edo South senatorial districts are: Ikpoba-Okha LGA, Ovia South West LGA, Ovia North East LGA, Oredo LGA, Uhunmwonde LGA and Egor LGA. These areas are hosts to oil and gas mineral resources and or petroleum and gas pipelines respectively.
“We can say without any equivocation whatsoever, that our indigenes have not benefited from your pro-development programs. At some points, some of our youths were contemplating unleashing their brute anger on oil facilities installations; we used our grassroots peace and conflict mechanisms to prevent an otherwise bloodbath. We are afraid; we cannot guarantee salvaging the impending militant eruption, if the brazen exclusion issues are not addressed in days from now” he stated.