The Itsekiris ethnic nationality and Ijaws in Gbaramatu Kingdom, both in Warri South-West area of Delta, has called for immediate resumption of work on the abandoned Gas Revolutionary Industrial Park (GRIP) and the Deep-Sea Port projects.
They made the call at a joint press briefing convened by the Gbaramatu Traditional Council of Chiefs and the Movement for Itsekiri Oil/Gas Producing Communities on Sunday in Warri.
Chief Godspower Gbenekama, spokes for Gbaramatu Traditional Council of Chiefs, while Chief Mike Odeli, the Olorogun of Warri, spoke for the Itsekiris.
Odeli, while addressing the newsmen, said that there was gross marginalisation of the two ethnic nationalities, urging the Federal Government to quickly intervene in addressing their plights.
He said that both ethnic nationalities were in support of the 614 Kilometres long Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) natural gas pipeline project.
Odeli, however, urged the government to resume work on the multi-billion dollars GRIP project and the Deep Sea Port in the Warri South-West.
“While we are in total support of the AKK, we say the GRIP-EPZ must be continued or we will be constrained to disrupt any attempt to continue work on the AKK.
“The marginalisation is clear in a way that the GRIP and the Deep-Sea Port meant to boost economic diversification and the Omadinor-Escravos Road projects in Warri South-West have been abandoned,” he said.
Odeli also said that they rejected the current bidding process of the 57 Marginal Fields offered by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
He urged the Federal Government to give their sons and daughters with capable firms, the right of first refusal on Marginal Fields bids.
“If competent companies owned by indigenes of Itsekiri and Gbaramatu people are not considered by DPR for the 57 Marginal Fields, we will be constrained to shut down operations of Multinational Oil Companies operating in our homelands.
“Federal Government should direct the relevant agencies and the oil companies to embark on large-scale shore protection/sand-filling projects in Itsekiri Oil/Gas Producing Communities and the Gbaramatu Kingdom.
“Federal Government should also direct oil companies working in our land to revoke and applied the Local Content Act in their employment regime,” he said.
Odeli, also urged the Federal Government to constitute a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to address mismanagement of fund in the commission.
In his remarks, Gbenekama said that that the gathering was the first of its kind between both ethnic groups in the past 20 years.
“It’s over 20 years, the Itsekiris and Ijaws in Gbaramatu had course to come together and fight a common course, Federal Government should address our demands,” he said.