Group Tackles Niger Delta Minister As Reps Probe Petition

 

There seems to be no truce in sight in the controversy over allocation of projects by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Abubakar Momoh, to Edo North senatorial district excluding Edo South as Benin National Congress (BNC) in a petition to the Speaker of the Federal House of Representative, Tajudeen Abass, called for a revisit to budgetary allocation to the ministry.

Recall that the socio-cultural organization had in a letter dated January 24, 2024 and addressed to the chairman, BRACES Commission Council, Governor Godwin Obaseki and the Oba of Benin, protested against what it described as ‘undeserving, unfair and discriminatory manner’ projects were allocated excluding Edo South Senatorial District in the 2024 Budget by the Ministry of Niger-Delta Affairs.

In the petition addressed to the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, and signed by the duo of Amb. Aiyamenkhue Edokpolo, President, Benin National Congress Worldwide and Comrade Maxwell Uwagboe, Secretary General, and made available to LEADERSHIP in Benin City, the group expressed shock that the minster’s explanation for the alleged lopsidedness was that his predecessor did the same.

Part of the petition reads, “His numerous reasons include that the Distinguished Senate President, H.E. Senator Godswill Akpabio, GCON acted similarly when he was Minister of Niger-Delta.

“That the NASS Members from his Edo North constituency area contributed their Constituency Projects whereas those from other senatorial districts, and in particular Edo South didn’t and were either stingy or not wise enough to contribute theirs to his Ministry.

“That we are being parochial, tribalistic and dispendious in the use of the resources allocated to Edo State under the Oil and Gas Producing Areas contributions. We are in receipt of a news media publication by the Honourable Minister in furtherance of his affront on the psyche of Edo South people.

“The budget of the Ministry of Niger Delta be revisited to enable the needful corrections in the allocation of projects to include Edo South senatorial district being the largest in land mass, the largest by population, the only district in Edo State that is Oil and Gas producing with it’s well known environmental degradation to stave off the anger over this unmerited deprivation.

“We had In our letter of December 21, 2023 which was addressed to HRM, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II CFR, the Oba Of Benin, expressed our surprise about the lopsided allocation by the Ministry of the Niger-Delta in its distribution of projects to be executed under the 2024 Budget, when all the 5 major projects under his Ministry were allocated/cited exclusively in his Edo North to the exclusion of other parts of the Niger-Delta Communities, especially Edo South Senatorial District – being the area with oil and gas production basin of the Niger-Delta.”

Continuing, the petition by BNC reads, “our assumption that it was a mistake, we didn’t believe that it could have been an intentional oversight, and we therefore sought to draw the attention of the Ministry and the Honourable Minister to this lacuna in its 2024 Budget projects distribution.

“The document also highlighted the major projects included in the Federal Government’s proposed 2024 National budget favouring Edo North For instance, N1.50b is allocated to the construction of 45km Okpella North, Ibie – Agenebode Road, Phase 1 in Edo State.”

The petition was presented on the floor of the House of Representatives by Hon. Murphy Omoruyi, member representing Egor/Ikpoba Okha federal constituency of Edo State on Thursday, February 8, for legislative action.

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