May 23, 2024

Allocate oil blocks in Gombe, Bauchi, others to Niger Delta people, IYC tells FG

Allocate oil blocks in Gombe, Bauchi, others to Niger Delta people, IYC tells FG

Nathan Tamarapreye, Yenagoa

The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) has called on the Federal Government to allocate licences for oil blocks in the Northern parts of Gombe, Bauchi, Nasarawa and Kogi to people from the Niger Delta region.

The IYC President, Peter Igbifa, in a statement in Port Harcourt on Tuesday to mark the Workers’ Day said allocating oil blocks in the North to Niger Delta people would further enhance the unity, cooperation and economic integration in the country.

Igbifa said since most oil block licences in the Niger Delta are owned by northerners it will only be equitable, fair and just to allow Niger Delta people to own and operate oil blocks in the North.

The IYC boss said since oil had been found in Gombe, Bauchi, Nasarawa and Kogi, Niger Delta people should be given oil blocks and given unfettered access to operate businesses of oil and gas in such northern states the same way the northerners were doing in the Niger Delta.

He said: “Since the discovery of oil in commercial quantity in the Niger Delta, northerners have owned oil block licences and operated oil and gas businesses in the Niger Delta enriching themselves from the proceeds of these blocks and businesses.

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“It gladdens our hearts that oil has been discovered in some states in the North. Explorations for more discoveries are also going on in the North.

“We are calling on the Federal Government to also allocate the oil blocks in the North to Niger Delta. This will ensure fair, just and equitable distributions of the country’s resources. It will also help to promote unity and economic integration in the country”.

Igbifa also expressed sadness over the non-completion of the East-West Road saying sufficient attention was not being paid to the most critical road in the region despite protests from different stakeholders in the Niger Delta.

He said the road would soon suffer another devastation following the looming flood, which he said would again make the road impassable and cause losses in businesses.

He said: “We are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency on East-West Road and direct his Minister for Works, Babatunde Fashola, to aggressively fix the road without excuses the same way they handle issues concerning the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos.

“We have noticed that since the East-West Road project file was transferred from the Ministry of the Niger Delta to that of Works, there has been an inexplicable delay in executing the project.

“While the road continues to be abandoned, similar projects in other parts of the country like the regular costly Maintenance Works on the Third Mainland Bridge are being pursued with speed. We are calling on President Buhari to fix the East-West Road before bowing out of office”.

Igbifa commended President Buhari for the 40 per cent increase in federal workers’ salaries but called on him, governors and other employers of labour to ensure improved welfare for workers.

He appreciated the contributions of workers in all fields especially those from the Ijaw ethnic extraction to the progress and development of the country and asked them not to bow to challenges inherent in their work environment.

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