By Jimitota Onoyume
Urhobo Youth Leaders Association, UYLA, in Delta State has joined its voice to calls on the Federal Government to halt bidding for the 57 marginal field until competent sons and daughters of Urhobo were given right of first refusal over fields in their communities.
The group spoke to journalists in Warri, Delta State, from a statement by acting National President of the body, Olorogun Vincent Oyibode; acting National Secretary, Chief Tony Ofoni, and Chief Samuel Oghotomo.
Its President, Oyibode, also said the government should also suspend plans to divert gas to Ajaokuta, Abuja, Kaduna, Kano and Niger Republic until electricity was stepped down from the gas turbine power stations in Ekakpmre, Sapele and Amai to guarantee steady power supply in Urhobo communities.
The youths further called for appointment of the board screened and confirmed by the National Assembly for the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
They added that indigenes of host communities of Utorogu gas plant should be considered for local content jobs and contracts in phases 2 and 3, adding that if this was not done they would shut down the plant.
The statement read in part: “Pay compensation of N500 billion to families of victims of the Idjerhe burst pipeline fire of 1998 that roasted about 1,000 persons to death in Ethiope West;
“Release the Sapele Port taken over by the Nigerian Navy so that it can be restored for commercial shipping to boost the economy of Delta State;
“Complete the Ogidigben Gas Project and Okerenkoko Deep Sea Port, the East-West Highway, the Omadino-Escravos Road and the Koko-Ogheye Road by 2021;
“It should be noted that much of the gas stock for the Ogidigben project will be sourced from Urhoboland;
“So there should be memoranda of understanding with Urhobo oil and gas host communities to work out equitable formulas for the employment of Urhobo local personnel, management staff, and execution of major contracts and supplies.
“Stop action on the proposed law for Federal monopoly ownership of Niger Delta rivers and waterways, which are our natural heritage and identity, and
“Guarantee adequate funding for the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, and the Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko to enable them to play their strategic roles in the global knowledge economy,” the Urhobo youths added.