The Urhbo, Ijaw, Isoko and Itsekiri ethnic nationalities of Delta State yesterday protested the proposed relocation of the office of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs from Warri to Asaba.
In a joint statement by their representatives – Eric Omare (Ijaw), Awani Esimaje (Itsekiri), Victor Egbo (Isoko) and Terry Obieh (Urhobo) – they rejected the move in view of its huge economic implication.
They said: “Warri is already economically and socially suffering the effect of the relocation of oil companies such as Shell, Chevron and several contracting firms, and to relocate the state office of the Niger Delta Ministry Affairs which has some economic impact on the city, would worsen the already comatose economic situation of Warri.
“In the first place, the state office of the Niger Delta Ministry was located in Warri just like that of the NDDC because Warri is the oil capital of Delta State and the oil-producing communities which the Niger Delta Ministry is supposed to serve would easily be accessed and projects monitored from the Warri office.
“Also most of the people that have something to do with the ministry are from the riverine communities and carry out their activities within Warri and its environs and access the Niger Delta Ministry office in Warri easily to address their problems. It would amount to subjecting these people to untold stress and hardship for them to be going to Asaba.”
The ethnic groups, while rejecting the reason advanced for the proposed relocation, said there were many Federal Government properties and agencies like the NPA in the oil city, wondering why the ministry still could not be in Warri.
They urged the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Uguru Usani, to halt the move.
They also called for the intervention of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as well as the representatives of Delta South and Warri constituency at the National Assembly, Senator James Manager and Hon. Daniel Reyenieju.
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