The oil-bearing communities in Egni Kingdom in Rivers State have cried out over the alleged lack of basic amenities in the area despite their contribution to the development of the country.
The 14 communities said there was nothing to show for the years of oil exploration in their area and called on the federal and state governments to come to their aid.
Egni plays host to major international oil firms, including Total Energies, Shell Petroleum Development Company, Nigeria Agip Oil Company and others.
They made the call in Obite town in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of the state, on Thursday, during a one-day Egni Development Summit, 2023 organised by Egni Professors and Academy Doctors Forum in partnership with other Egni groups.
The Chairman of the summit and the President of EPADOF, Prof. Daniel Ogum, said the essence of the gathering was for the people of Egni to develop a blueprint for development in the interest of the present and future generations.
He noted that Egni is blessed with human and mineral resources, but that despite the huge deposits in the area the people have remained in want.
Ogum appealed to the Federal Government to ensure Egni benefits from the natural resources in their area, adding that the people are suffering negative impacts of oil exploration.
He said, “We thank Governor Siminalayi Fubara, for working cordially with our daughter, deputy governor of Rivers State. We respectfully remind His Excellency that he made a promise to make ONELGA the oil and gas hub of Rivers State.
“Egni is nature’s storage tank of crude petroleum and natural gas. We, therefore, most courteously request that the proposed oil and gas hub be located in Egni. Egni has suffered oil and gas exploitation and exploration hazards over the past 60 years.
“Similarly, we call on the Federal Government to recognise Egni and indeed ONELGA at large, especially in the allocation of resources and the making of appointments.
“We have given Nigeria so much without commensurate rewards. Let our reward be on earth because our natural resources are here on earth.”
He also called on the Federal Government to come to their rescue.
“We are calling on the government to bring to us what will benefit us. The Federal Government should please, remember us.
“We are gathered here to resolve to guard and enrich our heritage. Our needs are numerous, but within the limit imposed by time, we shall limit ourselves to the following; peace and security, education and youth and women empowerment, healthcare and Egni environment, Egni urbanisation, investment and industry and others,” he added
The deputy governor, Prof. Ngozi Odu, while speaking as the Special Guest, asked the people to continue to foster peace and togetherness, saying without peace, development cannot be achieved.
She said, “There should be no room for rancour; there should not be a space for us to keep arguing.
“When somebody brings an idea and another person brings a better idea, let us all embrace the better idea. Let us continue to foster peace and togetherness.”
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