Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, on Friday, in Abuja, assured that his administration would look into the constitutional 13 per cent derivation benefit to the Niger Delta region to ensure even spread of developmental projects that meet the needs of the people.
This was as the Isoko Traditional Rulers Council have called on the Federal Government to utilise the eight oil fields of flow stations in Isoko land, to establish a gas plant and a modular refinery in the land.
The demand was coming five days after Nigeria and Niger Republic signed new agreement to build a hydro carbon and pipeline refinery in Katsina State.
The new agreement with Niger was targeted to produce between 100,000 and 150,000 barrels of crude oil per day in the new agreement to build a hydro carbon and pipeline refinery in Katsina State.
The refinery is worth $2 billion (over N700 billion) and is projected to generate over 2,500 direct jobs and over 10,000 indirect jobs in the country.
Receiving Isoko Traditional Rulers and personalities led by His Majesty Ovrawah, Omogha 1, Odiologbo of Oleh, at the Presidential Villa, President Buhari assured the royal fathers that the constitutional provisions for Niger Delta development would be carefully studied for inclusiveness, especially in the prioritisation of Federal Government projects.
Said he, “I have listened attentively to your address and I will still update myself with details of development in your area as it relates to oil and gas, and lack of infrastructure.
“I will look at the constitutional 13 per cent derivation and what previous governments have done, in order to know what we can do,” he said.
President Buhari noted that the Isoko kingdom had very qualified citizens that have distinguished themselves in various professional and entrepreneurial skills in the country, expressing surprise that the domain was not adequately captured in Federal Government appointments.
“I will revisit your address and ask for clarification. I will do my best on this issue,” he added.
Earlier, President General of the Isoko Development Union and spokesman of the traditional rulers, High Chief Iduh Amadhe, decried the fact that 15 oil wells in the Isoko section of OML 28 had been locked up since November 29, 2011 by SPDC, thereby depriving the country of daily production of 19,000 barrels of Crude Oil leading to huge financial loss.
According to the monarchs, the modular refinery would be beneficial not only to the region but for the nation as well, as it will create jobs, generate income and better the lives of the citizenry.
The traditional rulers reminded the president that the Isoko kingdom became the second place where oil was discovered in 1958 at Uzere immediately after Oloibiri, in present Bayelsa State.
They appealed to government to prevail on the minister of state, petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu to call on the management of NNPC/SPDC to immediately commence production in the Isoko Section of OML 28-Uzere east to increase revenue government and develop the area.
The monarchs also called on the government to direct oil companies operating in their land to create an enabling environment for investors to convert the Gas a Flare to electricity and for the oil existence of a modular refinery.
The traditional rulers also urged the president to direct the ministry if Niger Delta to capture Isoko land in the siting projects, skills acquisition center and other related programme, noting that no meaningful project has been sited in the area since the ministry was created.
The monarchs also demanded the siting of federal institutions, especially a polytechnic in the area as none of the six polytechnics in the state is sited in the area. They specially requested that the state owned Ozoro Polytechnic be converted to a federal polytechnic.
They also wanted the president to prevail on the NDDC or ministry of Niger Delta to fix the two roads in Isoko land that have been abandoned.
The roads are Emede-Oteri-Igbide-Uzere road and Ofagbe-Awa-Iyede Ame-Onogbokor-Umuoru road.
They also called on the government to set in motion machinery to curb the insecurity of life and property in some part of the country.
The monarchs expressed believe in President Buhari’s ability to usher in a new era of peace, oneness and even development in Niger Delta region and the entire nation, adding “we also believe in your excellency’s ability to correct the injustice that has been meted to the Isoko people for close to two decades and posterity will also record you in gold.”