By Davies Iheamnachor
PORT HARCOURT: Egbema ethnic nationality in Niger Delta has called on the Federal Government to grant it the opportunity to operate their oil and make returns to the centre just like the case of Zamfara State with its gold.
Ogbako Egbema Alinso, the apex socio-cultural group that speaks for the oil rich Egbema people in Rivers and Imo States, also expressed sadness that it does not benefit from the 13% derivation oil revenue, adding that the area was being neglected.
Speaking at the General Assembly of Ogbako Egbema Alinso, Port Harcourt branch, the President of the body, Sir Ifi Igwebuike Francis, said the area needs better deal with the federal government as regards their oil, stating that they would commence an action against the government if attention was not given to them soon.
Francis said: “Everybody knows that we are neglected. But we will cease to be neglected first quarters of next year. We will show that we have the strength to not only to cry out but to keep what we have.
“The Egbema man does not know anything about 13% we only hear it. We know that that 13% is to develop the only Producing communities. Come to Egbema and see if there is any impact on oil revenue. Very soon we will go beyond what is happening in Zamfara State.”
He expressed regrets that the activities of illegal oil refiners were affecting their environment, disclosing that they would set up a committee to end the menace in the area.
He lamented that Egbema, an agrarian community cannot fish from the river nor use their farmlands based on the activities of oil refiners.
He said: “The environment of the community is so polluted with the activities of illegal refining. We are going to set up an environment committee to liaise with relevant Government agencies very soon.
“We are fishermen and farmers, but now you cannot eat any fish without testing crude oil. They are all over our forests.
“There should be a need assessment in the community. A well-planned development programme. They should go there and find out what the communities need and not individuals.”
Also speaking, Engr. Ifeaka Nwakiri, the Public Relations Officer of the body, stated that the essence for the formation of the body was to fight and protect the interest of the Egbema people.
Nwakiri said the people of the area in the boundary on Rivers and Imo State have come together to speak in one voice, stating that they were earlier disturbed by their split into the two states.
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