18 January 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – A former Minister of State for Education, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, has faulted a statement by Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, that the crude oil in the Niger Delta may soon be exhausted.
He said the statement, which has attracted reaction from people in the region, was political.
Gbagi spoke with journalists yesterday in Abuja where he described the vice president’s visit to the region as fruitless.
He accused the Federal Government of sidelining the Urhobo by not visiting the area, which is the hub of gas production in the country.
According to him: “It is unacceptable for the vice president to visit other ethnic strongholds without stopping over at Ughelli, the political headquarters of the Urhobo nation.
“Osinbajo’s claim that oil will soon finish or dry up is a political statement without foundation. The gas deposits in Otolobo will last for another 100 years.”
But the Vice President did not say oil in the Niger Delta would soon be exhausted. Osinbajo yesterday raised the alarm that in no distant future, the country would be in grave danger if it continues to rely on oil as its major source of revenue generation.
According to him, the sad reality that “crude oil will soon become useless is staring Nigeria in the face and as such we must be smart and act intelligently and fast.”
The vice president gave the warning when he visited Gbaramatu kingdom in Delta State as part of his peace mission to the Niger Delta region, in furtherance of the federal government’s quest for lasting solutions to the challenges in the region.
Speaking to a large crowd after meeting behind closed doors with leaders of Gbaramatu at the palace of the Pere of Gbaramatu kingdom, Oboro Gbaraun II Aketekpe, the vice president asked the people of the region to recognise the fact that the future is full of challenges for the oil industry.
He said, “In another 20 to 30 years, our oil won’t be as precious as it is today and that is reality? America has stopped buying oil from us. All the countries of Asia that buy oil from us are building alternative means of power, China and Japan are developing electric cars. In fact, Japan has more charging stations than petrol stations. Solar power is getting cheaper.”
Gbagi, however, said the visit was not beneficial to the people because no official statement was made towards lasting peace in the zone.
Meanwhile, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has commended the recent approval by the Federal Government for the take-off of the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Gbaramatu Kingdom, in Delta State.
During an interview yesterday, the spokesman for IYC, Mr. Eric Omale, said the institution will give youths in the region the chance to assess higher education.
Omale said: “We commend the Federal Government for this and hope that it would be proactive and sensitive to issues relating to the Niger Delta region. The visit certainly is good as it would help build confidence in the people of the region.”