From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin

A group, Benin National Congress (BNC), yesterday, faulted the Minister of Niger Delta, Engr. Abubakar Momoh for allegedly concentrating projects to be executed in the 2024 budget in Edo North where he hails from.

The group, in a statement signed by its President, Aiyamenkhue Edokpolo and its Secretary General, Comrade Maxwell Uwagboe, and made available to newsmen in Benin, said the projects enlisted to be executed are not evenly distributed in the state despite that Edo South is the major producer of oil and gas.

According to the group “In our letter of December 21, 2023 which was addressed to HRM, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II CFR, the Oba Of Benin, we expressed our surprise about the lopsided allocation by the Ministry of the Niger-Delta in its distribution of projects to be executed under the 2024 Budget, when all the five major projects under his Ministry were allocated/sited exclusively in his Edo North to the exclusion of other parts of the Niger-Delta Communities, especially Edo South Senatorial District – being the area with oil and gas production basin of the Niger-Delta

“In our suspicion that it was a mistake, we believed that it could have been an oversight, and therefore sought to draw the attention of the Ministry and the Honourable Minister to this lacuna in its 2024 Budget projects distribution.

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“The document also highlighted the major projects included in the Federal Government’s proposed 2024 National budget favouring Edo North For instance, N1.50b is allocated to the construction of 45km Okpella North, Ibie – Agenobode Road, Phase 1 in Edo State.

“The Federal government also allocated N800m for the construction of classrooms in the nine Niger Delta States (global); design and construction of Ekperi Osomegbe Road, amounting to N545m.

“Other projects to be executed in Northern Edo State are the construction of Ihievhe – Ihievhe Ogbe Road and the N500m construction of Iyukwu – Atte Road in Akoko Edo, LGA.

“In giving credence to the exclusion of Edo South Senatorial District, Senator Oyofo felicitated the Honourable Minister for these projects given to his area, (Edo North Senatorial District) but the same cannot be said of Edo South”, the duo said.

They said they are dismayed to read that the Honourable Minister probably did this on purpose stemming from the justifications he had sought to give for concentrating all major projects within his constituency, which is not an oil and gas producing area of Edo State, knowing well that Edo State is Niger-Delta, because Edo South sits on the bight of Benin and other Niger Estuaries such as Gelegele.

They added that the approach of the Minister did not only risk undermining principles of fairness and equity but also fosters division among senatorial districts.