To avoid further crisis in oil communities in Imo State, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) recently organized a stakeholders’ consultative forum to proffer solutions.
The forum was drawn from traditional rulers, leaders of thought, NDDC staff, political leaders, youth leaders and academicians representing the people of Ohaji/Egbema, Oguta Local Government Areas and other leaders of thought from the rest of 25 local government areas in Imo State.
In the joint meeting held in Owerri, the group identified areas of conflict and proposed a way forward to ensure a lasting peace in the region where oil and gas are produced daily to the benefit of the beneficiaries being Nigerians.
According to the communiqué signed by the Chairman and Secretary John Inyanga and Chido Ezeobi, respectively, and handed over to Daily Independent on Tuesday, it stated reasons for the existence of conflicts and crisis in the Niger Delta area generally, with particular emphasis in the two oil producing local government areas of (Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta) in Imo State.
Lack of full implementation of the Acts establishing NDDC in the areas of project execution, poor execution of projects designed for thearea, abandonment of NDDC inspired projects, non involvement of leaders of thought on award of contracts, budget planning, selection and location of designed projects to the benefit of the people were all identified as part of the problems encouraging disquiet in the area.
On the way forward, the communiqué states that projects meant for the two local government areas should not be diverted to other states.
They demanded a creation of self-employment opportunities for the youths in the areas of business of agriculture, computer training, women and youth empowerment, transportation, other sectors of entrepreneurship. Such programmes according to them should be borne by NDDC through equipment purchases and funding.
The stakeholders also look forward to take their turn in the area of clinching the position of “executive director projects” of the commission. “Now that it is the turn of Imo State to produce Executive Director Projects of the commission, we strongly recommend that it should be given to a qualified person from the two oil and gas producing local government areas in the state.
“The top managers from the two oil producing local government areas are nearing retirement and no immediate managers and directors from the area to replace them. NDDC should ensure that immediate employment of graduates in different disciplines to replace these retiring directors. Abandoned projects awarded by the NDDC in the two local governments should be completed’.
These areas of conflicts according to the stakeholders would avert breakdown of law and order if the government fulfills its obligations towards oil producing communities.