By Emma Amaize
OIL-BEARING communities in Delta, Tuesday, launched a fresh attack on the Federal Government and Governors of the nine states of Niger Delta region, differently accusing them of neglect and misappropriation of 13 per cent Derivation Funds.
Speaking through the Oil Producing Areas Association of Nigeria, OPAAN, Delta State chapter, the host communities specifically condemned the negligence of the Federal Government in spite of their contributions to the federal coffers.
Chairman, OPAAN, Rev Jonathan-Davids Dike, in a statement obtained by Vanguard, said: “Today, oil exploration has rendered farmlands and territorial waters useless, thereby causing hardship and poverty to the people of the oil-rich Niger Delta region, while the proceeds of their God-given resources are being used to develop Abuja and other regions of Nigeria.”
His words: “While we blame the Federal Government for not developing the host communities, we will also not exonerate the State Governors of the Niger Delta oil-rich region, who have over the years misappropriated the 13 per cent derivation fund meant for the development of the oil-producing communities”
“OPAAN demands and enjoins government at all levels to adopt a proper system of equitable distribution and allocation of resources for the development of the oil-producing areas that suffer the brunt of the oil and gas extractions in Nigeria.
“In the same vain, while the oil exploration has subjected the people to near permanent hardship and total impoverishment, members of the political class are feeding fat from the proceeds of their oil,” he said.
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Declaring the situation as “unacceptable to the people “, Dike asserted: “OPAAN is joining Ndokwas, Ijaws, Isokos, Urhobos and Itsekiris of Delta state to say enough is enough. Federal Government should give the people all that is due to them and listen to their cries now.”
“In other oil-producing countries like the USA, United Arab Emirate, Kuwait, Switzerland etc, the host communities of oil exploration, enjoy good roads and other infrastructural benefits such as potable water system, health care facilities, schools and they are equitably recompensed in every way possible.
“The protest by the people of Ndokwa nation on the August 13th, 2020 is a wakeup call on President Muhammadu Buhari to address the demands of the people.
“OPAAN, Delta State Chapter is strongly behind Ndokwa in their protest and urge Mr President to pay attention to the demands of Ndokwa Nation. If their demands are not addressed, OPAAN will not hesitate to take legal actions against the Nigerian government for rendering the region’s farmlands and territorial waters useless, as a result of oil exploitation and exploration,” he added.