Rejects composition of oil commission’s board
INDIGENES of Itsekiri oil and gas producing communities in Delta State, Thursday, condemned the composition of the Board of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, saying it was the turn of the ethnic group by the law setting up the oil commission to produce the next Managing Director.
Chair of Itsekiri Oil Mineral Producing Communities, IOMPC, Mr. Edward Omagbemi and two others, in a statement, asserted, “The recent announcement of the composition of the Board of the NDDC is marginalization and oppression taken too far.”
“For the avoidance of doubt, we vehemently condemn the appointments of Dr. Pius Odubu, Mr, Bernard Okumagba and Prophet Jones Erhue as the next Chairman, Managing Director and Delta State Representative respectively of the interventionist agency for reasons as stated above.
”The nomination of Mr Bernard Okumagba from Delta State as the Managing Director is not only repugnant, but also provocative,” they said.
“Although Mr Okumagba is from Warri, he is an Urhobo from Okere- Urhobo area of Warri. He is not from oil and gas producing or impacted community. Aside from that, Urhobo in Delta State have been Managing Director twice and an Executive Director once in the 17 years history of NDDC.
“Itsekiri has never been made the Chairman or the Managing Director of NDDC whereas by the law setting up the organization, Itsekiri should be by now. By NDDC law, alphabetically it is the turn of the Delta State oil producing area to produce the Chairman. In terms of quantum production, Itsekiri should be the Managing Director of NDDC now.
“They cannot and should not be Managing Director or Executive Director, ED soon again. There are other oil and gas producing ethnic nationalities with higher quantum in the State. Itsekiri the highest producer In Delta state has only been an executive director for one and half years.
“NDDC was set up in 2002 to ameliorate the endemic socio-economic problems of Niger Delta region caused by years of oil exploration and exploitation in the region. The law setting up the NDDC envisages that the indigenes of oil and gas producing areas and communities will constitute the leadership of the Board and Management and as a result determine their own destiny.
“At the recent House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee on Abandoned Projects by NDDC, states that had chairmen and managing directors of NDDC reported of hundreds of abandoned projects,” they stated.
The Itsekiri communities added, “So far Itsekiri are angry, disappointed and feel shortchanged by the NDDC since it was set up. Itsekiri nationality is second highest producer of oil and gas in Nigeria and highest producer of oil and gas in Delta State. Itsekiri harbor the largest tank farm of the American giant Chevron in Ugborodo, an Itsekiri town and several oil facilities, yet they have been continuously neglected and overlooked.”
They further complained: “Oil and gas producing communities of Itsekiri do not have motorable roads and are suffering from systematic marginalization, abject poverty, devastated environment and lack of meaningful development. This is in spite of years of oil and gas exploration and exploitation in the area because they have not had the opportunity of being at the helms of affairs of the intervention agency.”