Chidiebube Okeoma, Owerri
Traditional rulers from the oil producing communities of Imo State have called on the Federal Government to ensure the completion of all abandoned projects in the area.
A statement by the Chairman, Imo State Oil Minerals Producing Communities of Nigeria, Eze Sylvester Okwudo, stated that despite the natural resources that abound in the communities, the people of the oil region of the state still lived in abject poverty.
The monarchs equally called on the oil companies operating in the communities to start implementing agreements reached with host communities.
They said that for decades, most oil producing communities in the state had no access to electricity and basic amenities.
The statement partly read, “We call on the oil companies operating in Ohaji/Egbema to stop provoking members of their host communities through their nonchalant attitude.
“It is quite unfortunate that most of the oil companies operating in Ohaji/Egbema have flouted the all the agreements they reached with oil producing communities and these actions create tension and distrust in the area.
“We appeal to oil companies operating in the Ohaji/Egbema area to implement fully all the agreements reached with oil producing communities in the area to reduce the built-up tension.
“We are in total support of the two-week ultimatum given by the Ohaji/Egbema elite concerning all the abandoned federal and state government projects in the area.
“However, as fathers, we have appealed to the Ohaji/Egbema elite to calm down while hoping that the Federal Government and oil companies operating in the area would, as a matter of urgency, look into their demands to avoid encouraging restiveness in the area.
“We demand that the Federal Government would commence immediately the completion of all the abandoned projects, most importantly the Egbema power plant, so that the people of the area can enjoy electricity like other oil producing communities in Nigeria.
“We note that if not for hatred, what will make all the oil companies operating in our area to refuse to have full physical presence in Imo State; rather, they prefer to operate from Abuja, Lagos etc.”
The monarchs called on the youth to be united in their course and to avoid taking laws into their hands.
“As law-abiding citizens, we will continue to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration as well as the present and the incoming administrations in Imo State,” the monarchs added.
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