From Chuks Onuoha, Umuahia.
THE Federal Government has said that it has designed a new partnership with states, local governments and other stakeholders in the oil sector, aimed at giving a fair deal to oil producing states in the country.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo disclosed this while speaking at a town hall meeting in Umuahia, Abia State, as part of Federal Government’s programme to interface with oil producing communities in the country.
Osinbajo said the Federal Government was working hard to see that oil producing states would be given a fair deal in the country, noting that though many oil producing communities had not benefited from oil, they suffer the hazards of oil exploration and gas flaring.
He assured that Abia State would be involved in the new amnesty programme of the Federal Government, disclosing that the government had ordered all contractors of abandoned projects to return to site within 30 days or face prosecution.
The Vice President said the government would soon appoint a Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) commissioner for Abia State from the oil producing communities. He commended indigenes of the state for being peaceful, while assuring that they would soon benefit from the oil resource in their land.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, in his speech, noted that no indigene of the state had benefited from the Amnesty Programme of the Federal Government and made a case for the state to be included in the programme.
He further revealed that Ukwa sons were not employed by any of the oil companies operating in Asa land and called for a reversal of the trend. He also demanded for the establishment of more federal universities in the state.
In their separate speeches, stakeholders who attended the meeting, including former senate president, Adolphous Wabara, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Hon. Uzoma Abonta, as well as representatives of various groups in Ukwa, appealed to the Federal Government to address the alleged marginalisation of Ukwa people by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the NDDC and oil companies operating in the community.
They also urged the Federal Government to include Abia people in the Amnesty Programme, appoint an NDDC commissioner for the state from Asa, establish a federal university in Ukwa land and order NDDC contractors back to site, among other requests.