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Group Seeks More Projects In Edo Oil-Producing Areas

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An Edo South group, Benin National Congress, has knocked the Ministry of Niger Delta over alleged marginalisation of the oil-producing zones in the distribution of projects in the state.

In a letter written to the House of Representatives and signed by the President of the BNC,  Aiyamenkhue Edokpolo, the group noted that 70 per cent of the ministry’s projects in the state should be sited in the oil-producing area.

The letter dated March 3, titled, “Our grouse with the 2024 capital projects appropriation by the Ministry of Niger-Delta Affairs, ” was made available to Instantnews Online on Sunday.

The letter read in part, “Oil/gas Communities of Edo State are found in three local government areas in the Edo South Senatorial District, Ikpoba-Okha, Orhionmwon and Ovia North-East and the local government areas are irked by the capital projects appropriation of the Ministry of Niger-Delta Affairs.

“The budget for the projects offend the core mandate of the ministry, as it concerns the interest of the aforementioned oil/gas producing localities of Edo State which were gravely undermined and/or spitefully neglected.

“It is worthy to note that the ministry busied itself with loading the immediate communities in the current Minister, Abubakar Momoh’s Zone of Edo North Senatorial District with no oil drop whilst scornfully, leaving the aforementioned oil/gas producing LGAs in Edo South with crumbs.

“We owe President Bola Tinubu gratitude for his choice of Edo indigene as minister for the first time since the inception of the Ministry as he could have otherwise exercised his prerogative.

“Our joy would not be full if this appointment in its very early steps would work to rob Peter to pay Paul. We can not only because an Edo State person is incumbent minister, condone this monumental and monstrous deprivation of a budgetary proposal against the oil/gas communities of Edo State.”

The group urged the chairman, House of Representatives, Committee on Public Petition, Mike Etaba, to ensure that the capital projects allocation and/or appropriation be reviewed with a clear 70 per cent to 30 per cent distribution formula in favour of Edo State oil/gas producing/host communities.

The BNC also said that the distribution formula be made standard practice in the ministry’s future budgeting and/or appropriation and that a mechanism be instituted for Needs Assessment in the relevant oil/gas producing/host Communities.

It also noted that the minister and/or the ministry should re-commit itself to the envisioned rapid transformation of oil/gas communities in Edo State and the whole of the Niger Delta region.

Recall that Edokpolo had filed a petition in February against the minister over the marginalisation of Edo South and the Oil producing communities, which prompted the House Committee on Public Petition to invite the BNC executive and the minister to a public hearing last Thursday.

However, the minister was not present to state the ministry’s side of the issue.


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