Oil-rich Egni community in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Council in Rivers State has decried its neglect by federal, state governments and oil companies operating in the area.
A group of university professors and doctors from the area has, therefore, planned a summit to address the pains, lack of social amenities,
abandonment, among others
The Chairman, Egni Professors and Academic Doctors Forum (EPADOF), Prof. Daniel Ogum, who is former Dean of Postgraduate Studies, Ignatius Ajuru University, said the summit, tagged ‘Egni Development Summit 2023’ would address issues of neglect, insecurity and serve as a development compass and strategic plan in the decades ahead.
Ogum said: “The pain in our heart is enormous. Over the past 50 decades, crude petroleum and natural gas have been extracted from our land. So much revenue has been donated to the Nigerian nation, from what we have as our endowment of nature.
“But, there are no flyovers in Egni; there is no hospital today that is functional in Egni. There is no hospital even in Ogba /Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area. Even as I speak, no hospital has oxygen. So, if there is a case of emergency, it is a case of ‘God be with you till we meet again’.
“When we were young, we knew a lot of animals, we knew a lot of plants, a lot of species of fishes, they are no more, they have gone extinct, because of the deplorable condition of oil exploitation and exploration.”
Ogum added that natural justice demands that the ‘goose that lays the ‘golden egg’ should benefit from the wealth obtained from Egni ethnic nationality.
He said the development summit, which will be held on December 26, in Obite, in ONELGA, would address many years of concerns.
Similarly, oil-bearing communities in Bayelsa State have lamented prolonged delays in the implementation of the host community fund component of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
Representatives of the communities expressed dismay that since the PIA came into effect in 2021, no meaningful development projects had been carried out due to bureaucracy in setting up governance templates for the funds.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the communities expressed their position in a statement issued on Sunday in Yenagoa.
It was jointly signed by the Chairman of Dodo River Rural Development Association, Mr. Francis Amamogiran; youth leader, Mr. Christopher Tuduo, and a community leader, Chief Theophilus Moses.
They noted that their peaceful disposition had ensured uninterrupted oil and gas exploration and production amidst the delays and warned against taking their stance for granted.
The statement urged the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) to expedite actions aimed at ensuring full compliance by all oil companies with the three per cent operational expenses obligation.
The communities noted that given the opaque nature of the oil industry, the regulatory powers of a regulator was required and urged NUPRC to be a catalyst and not a cog in the wheel of progress.