Sequel to sustained protests and agitations against the appointment of Mr Effiong Akwa as interim sole administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), a socio-cultural group in Oron Nation, Oro Progressives Movement (OPM) has sent emissaries to Ijaw Youths in parts of Bayelsa, Rivers and Delta states.
The group says the initiative is important in order to cement diplomatic discussions aimed at cutting off sectional sentiments against Akwa’s appointment.
Oron Nation, the home town of Mr Effiong Akwa, with five local government area, is the third largest ethnic nationality in Akwa Ibom State.
Addressing journalists during a press conference in Uyo, the group’s National President, Ken E. E. Bassey said Oro and Ijaw ethnic groups “share the same historical and cultural affinity, in spite of the geographical distance and hence were brothers”, who must not be at war.
”We are brothers. We have reached out to them formally and informally. The truth is that the diplomatic gestures is already yielding fruits because some of them are no longer in support of any protest they were planning to have in January and all of that.
”By historical facts, the Oro and Ijaws are brothers not just by geographical location of where we are. That is why you will see that the recent report from the Obolo Council attested to the fact that we are brothers.
”And of course, the challenges of the Niger Delta is such that should unite us, because the squalor, the neglect, the marginalization cut across.”
The OPM President stated that by way of entitlement, the Oron Nation accounted for not less than 80 percent of the derivable oil revenue of Akwa Ibom State, naming oil companies operating in its territory.
“Oro accounts for not less than 80% of the derivable oil revenue of Akwa Ibom State with major oil producing companies operating on its territory. Five of them operate off-shores namely: Monipulo, Addax, ExxonMobil, TotalFinaELF, Afren and three On-shore, Viz; Associated Oil, Universal Energy and Septre Energy.
“With this verifiable evidence, we have been largely marginalized in managerial appointments in the NDDC until this recent call to service of Barr Effiong Akwa. Therefore, this laudable gesture should be sustained”, he said.
The group’s president called for brotherly and peaceful existence among Niger Delta people, saying close monitoring of projects in the Niger Delta was necessary to stem the tide of NDDC abandoned projects littering all states of the region.