Written by Cletus Opukeme, Warri
Fresh controversy is brewing between Ijaw/Itsekiri communities in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State in Southern Nigeria over $16billion EPZ Project as Ijaw communities demanded their rights as hosts to benefit in the multibillion dollar project.
Watchdogreporters gathered that already the foremost Federated Niger Delta Ijaw Communities (FNDIC) has decried the situation, warning that it could be counter-productive if the grey issues are not addressed before the project is flagged- off.
This is coming few weeks to the official foundation laying ceremony of
the multimillion dollar EPZ project by President Goodluck Jonathan in Ugborodo in Delta State.
Indications are that President Goodluck Jonathan will undoubtedly visit Delta State next week to perform the project foundation laying ceremony.
Our source said that the state Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan is already
preparing grounds for the President to visit Escravos and lay the
foundation of the gas city world-class project.
But foremost Niger Delta group, Federated Niger Delta Ijaw Communities
(FNDIC) Chief Bello Oboko is in the forefront of the Ijaw communities demanding for the inclusion of their communities in the project or warned against the visit of President Jonathan to Escravos to flag off the project.
Chief Oboko said that the visit of President Jonathan would only anger the
‘stakeholders’ who had alleged neglect and outright side-lining in the
process leading to the execution of the project.
Oboko, particularly cited the case of Kpokpo/Okpeleama, both Ijaw
communities which are said to be less than 335.554 hectares of land
belong to Escravos EPZ land area.
He argued that the dwellers of Kpokpo/Okpeleama land are not allowed to participate in the on-going work carried out in the Escravos EPZ
According to him “Following the revocation of their land (referring to
Kpokpo/Okpeleama), the people dislocated of their local
economies, a situation which resulted to nagging hunger and
humanitarian crises in the affected communities”