The Chairman of the Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN), has commended communities in the Ekpeye Ethnic Nationality in Rivers State for embracing dialogue in their quest for development.
Senator Ndoma-Egba was speaking when a delegation of Ekpeye Elites, led by Dr Chigbo Sam-Eligwe, paid him a courtesy visit at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt.
The NDDC Chairman observed that communities in the Ekpeye nation had been peaceful, shunning violent agitations which had ensured a safe environment for the exploration and exploitation of oil resources in the area.
He said:” There has been no incidence of breaches on oil facilities. This is very remarkable and we must applaud the Ekpeye nation for that. Continue to opt for dialogue because the current board and management of the NDDC are inclined to a new kind of militancy. We advocate militancy for peace and development, because without peace, development will suffer.”
Senator Ndoma-Egba added: “We need peace in the Niger Delta region for the much needed development. I want to commend the Ekpeye nation for setting the example and we commend this to every other community in the region.”
The NDDC Chairman remarked that considering the enormous contributions of Ekpeye nation to the national economy and wealth, the people deserved far more attention than they were getting.
He, therefore, assured the Ekpeye nation that the neglect they had suffered in the past would now be history, stating that the anomaly would be corrected and their concerns would be accommodated in the 2019 budget of the NDDC.
Earlier in his remarks, the leader of the Ekpeye delegation, Dr Sam-Eligwe, observed that the Ekpeye Nation was contributing immensely to the oil and gas wealth of Nigeria and deserved due recognition and patronage by NDDC.
He noted that Ekpeye Nation was the third largest oil and gas producing area in Rivers State, with production capacity of about 15 per cent of the total oil and gas revenue of Nigeria, with several pipelines conveying crude oil and gas traversing Ekpeye land and communities.
He lamented that the Ekpeye Nation appeared to have been neglected in the NDDC budget. According to him: “This abject neglect is glaringly reflected in the current NDDC budget, where out of a list of about 900 projects in the mandate states, only one paltry and insignificant project of construction and equipping of a science laboratory of the community secondary school, Edeoha, Ahoada East Local Government Area was included.”
He appealed for more infrastructural projects such as rural electrification, roads and bridges. He also called attention to the plight of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) who, he said, had been rendered homeless and had lost their sources of livelihood due to the damages occasioned by the flood on their farms, homes and properties.