20 January 2019, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt — A group known as Ekpeye Elites, has said that Ekpeye ethnic nationality in Rivers State contributes 15 percent of Nigeria’s oil and gas revenue, thus deserved due recognition and patronage by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
The leader of the group, Dr. Chigbo Sam-Eligwe, said this when the group paid a courtesy visit to the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt, said Ekpeye Nation was contributing immensely to the oil and gas wealth of the country.
Sam-Eligwe claimed that Ekpeye ethnic nationality, which are in Ahoada-East and Ahoada-West Local Government Area of the state, was the third largest oil and gas producing area in Rivers State.
He said Ekpeye communities had been peaceful, shunning violent agitations which had ensured a safe environment for the exploration and exploitation of oil resources in the area, yet the Ekpeye Nation have continued face neglect by NDDC.
According to him, “Ekpeye Nation is the third largest oil and gas producing area in Rivers State, with a production capacity of about 15 percent of the total oil and gas revenue of Nigeria, with several pipelines conveying crude oil and gas traversing Ekpeye land and communities.
“This abject neglect is glaringly reflected in the current NDDC budget, where out of a list of about 900 projects in the mandate states, only one paltry and insignificant project of construction and equipping of a science laboratory of the community secondary school, Edeoha, Ahoada East Local Government Area was included.”
He appealed for more infrastructural projects such as rural electrification, roads, and bridges. He also called attention to the plight of the Internally Displaced Persons who, he said, had been rendered homeless and had lost their sources of livelihood due to the damages occasioned by a continuous flood on their farms, homes, and properties.
Responding, Chairman of the Governing Board of NDDC, Sen. Victor Ndoma-Egba, commended communities in the Ekpeye ethnic nationality in Rivers State for embracing dialogue in their quest for development.
Sen. Ndoma-Egba said considering the enormous contributions of Ekpeye nation to the national economy and wealth, the people deserved far more attention than they were getting.
He assured the people of Ekpeye nation that the neglect they had suffered in the past would now be history, stating that the anomaly would be corrected and their concerns would be accommodated in the 2019 budget of NDDC.
“There has been no incidence of breaches on oil facilities. This is very remarkable and we must applaud the Ekpeye nation for that.
“Continue to opt for dialogue because the current board and management of the NDDC are inclined to a new kind of militancy. We advocate militancy for peace and development because, without peace, development will suffer.
“We need peace in the Niger Delta region for the much-needed development. I want to commend the Ekpeye nation for setting the example and we commend this to every other community in the region.”