By Jimitota Onoyume
Itsekiri Regional Development Council, IRDC, and other parties in a move to open a proposed bid for building projects in Itsekiri oil and gas producing impacted communities under the Global Memorandum of Understanding, GMoU, between Chevron Nigeria Limited, Itsekiri Oil and Gas Producing/Impacted communities and Delta State government have been urged to put the matter on hold.
Five members of the Itsekiri oil and gas producing/impacted communities, in a statement on Wednesday in Warri, said opening a bid based on a needs assessment conducted since 2006 would amount to waste as the needs of the communities had since gone beyond the issues captured in the 2006 assessment.
The statement by Kennedy Ebigbeyi, Apoh Toristeju, Okotie Otomewo, Ebiekutan Jemine and Kennedy Obaghore stressed that the 2006 needs assessment no longer reflected contemporary plights in the affected communities, adding that the available fund should be properly channelled to productive developmental projects that would help create wealth and jobs for the people and communities under the Itsekiri Regional Development Council, IRDC.
“Much as building projects may be laudable, it may amount to waste of efforts and funds if you build houses and there are no commensurate economic activities that would give the people means of livelihood and ensure they stay in those houses in the communities,” the statement said.
Continuing they said there was a need to chart a proper course where the funds can be properly and better utilised for the benefit of Itsekiri oil and gas producing communities.
They alleged that the IRDC had in its account about N5 billion, noting that if properly utilised, it would resolve challenges of underdevelopment and poverty in communities under it.