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Uduaghan Reassures Ijaws on $16bn Gas City Project

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Hopes have brightened for a hitch-free take-off of the $16 billion Gas City Project in the Escravos Export Processing Zone (EPZ) in Delta State with Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan wading into the protest by Ijaw communities over alleged marginalisation and non-recognition as host community to the project.

The Governor has initiated negotiations to ensure genuine Ijaw claims are accommodated and assuage their fears of being shut out of the expected unquantifiable benefits from the multi-billion dollar project, THISDAY learnt.

Several groups had recently accused the governor of positioning the Itsekiri ethnic group as sole beneficiaries of the EPZ project in Delta State, which is projected to attract over $16billion in capital.

Some Ijaw communities and pressure groups in the Burutu and Warri South-West Local Government Area, while laying claims to being bonafide host communities within the proposed EPZ project site, had alleged exclusion.

However,  Uduaghan has reportedly convened a meeting with some Ijaw leaders to sort out the matter of alleged exclusion, the President of the Federated Niger Delta Ijaw Communities (FNDIC), Chief Bello Oboko, said in a statement.

Pleading with all aggrieved to sheathe their swords, Oboko however urged “all operators to act in compliance (with Uduaghan's initiative) for peace and mutual benefits to the glory of God."

At the height of the peaceful protest in May, the Ijaw groups had advised President Goodluck Jonathan to reject the invitation to perform the groundbreaking ceremony of the project without their inclusion, thus raising concerns about a possible breakdown of peace and order in the area.

"A joint peace meeting between the Delta State Government and an Ijaw Team” was however held on May 19 and 21, 2014 in Asaba tor thrash out the Ijaw complaints regarding the EPZ project, statement sent to THISDAY said.

Governor Uduaghan was said to have personally coordinated the May 19, 2014 meeting in Asaba, which was also attended by representatives of the Ijaw kingdom of Ogulagha.

Subsequently, the Governor Uduaghan reportedly directed the Commissioner of Lands, Surveys and Urban Development, Mr. Patrick Ferife, to continue the process to verify 'outstanding claims' by the different communities.

The FNDIC leader however commended Dr Uduaghan peace initiatives and for decrying the reported exclusion of the representatives of Kpokpo/Okpeleama community from participating in the last the oil and gas seminar at Effurun, near Warri.

He equally thanked President Goodluck Jonathan for approving the huge oil and gas investments expected to trigger enormous economic returns trough the Delta EPZ venture.



Article Credit: Thisdaylive

Updated 4 Years ago

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