By Jimitota Onoyume
WARRI—OLU of Warri, His Majesty, Ogiame Ikenwoli has lamented the gross neglect of Itsekiri communities despite the huge oil resource generated from the area.
Speaking yesterday at his palace in Warri, Delta State during a colourful ceremony to mark his 3rd year coronation anniversary, the Itsekiri monarch said the Itsekiri nation will continue to explore constructive dialogue to draw attention to its neglected oil rich communities.
He said, “While the country derives a great deal from the bowel of our homeland, including but not limited to crude oil and gas exploitation, not much in terms of commensurate returns ever gets to our people and our environment is left to suffer degradation that remains after the exploitation
“We will continue to deploy constructive and redemptive means and methods to ensure that our people are not left behind, only to bear the brunt of the ravages as stated above.”
Thanking the Federal Government for resumption of work on the abandoned Koko-Ogheye road project, the monarch also appealed to the government for resumption of work on the Ogidigben gas revolution park project in Excravos.
“A prominent one among them is the Ogidigben gas revolution park in Escravos. We reiterate our appeal to the Federal Government and especially on activities at the oil and gas free trade zone, OGFZA, to sort whatever bottleneck issues might be there regarding this project and quickly return to site in the interest of our people and our dear country, Nigeria.”
He called on all parties around the crisis impeding smooth take off of the new board of the Itsekiri Regional Development Council, IRDC, to sheath their sword for the common good of the Itsekiri nation, stressing that it was regrettable that money meant for development of Itsekiri nation to be managed by the IRDC could not be applied for the purpose at the moment because of the crisis.
“It is now clear since more than one year the new board of IRDC was inaugurated, it has not been able to achieve anything, principally because of avoidable litigation, which has frozen billions of naira in the banks. Our appeal to those behind these endless superiority contests is that they should sheath their swords,” he added.
The monarch also urged politicians of Itsekiri extraction to play by the rule, adding that they should promote the interest of the Itsekiri nation, pleading also with the Delta State Government to resume work on several access bridges linking Itsekiri communities to cities.