By Omuboye Sukubo
President Muhammadu Buhari says he felt touched and sad to know that OML-25 Host Communities are pleading to have primary schools in 2019 after 40 years of oil exploration.
Buhari expressed his displeasure during the official reopening of the OML-25 Flow Station in Belema, Akuku-Toru Local Government Area (LGA) of Rivers on Thursday.
Represented by his Senior Special Assistant on Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Ita Enang, he assured the people of the host communities that the narrative would change.
“We have been to the host communities, and I want to assure you that we have seen your situation by ourselves.
“I felt touched when in the address by your leaders, they are asking for a school in 2019 after 40 years of producing oil for Nigeria.
“I am also saddened to hear that while producing 44,000 barrels of oil per day for the past 40 years through Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), that you’re now asking for a hospital.
“I want to assure you that we will not just provide schools, we will provide complete community life for all the host Communities of OML-25,” he said.
According to Buhari, the Federal Government will work with the state that is receiving the 13 per cent Derivation, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and find out what they have particularly done for the communities.
“We will work with the Presidential Amnesty Office and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs; we will redirect the budget, so that the oil revenue will take care of the people.
“I felt a lot when I scooped the water that you drink about 30 minutes ago, and the oil from the water is still on my palms with which I fetched the water.
“On behalf of Nigeria, I apologise to you, this situation in this country under President Buhari and Ministers of Petroleum Resources and Niger Delta Affairs will definitely change for the better for all of us,” he added.
The president commended Mr Tein Jack-Rich, President and Founder of Belemaoil Producing for showing deep interest to impact on the host communities.
“Every community should look for, and treasure their indigenes who care about their interest.
“I thank you for bringing peace to these communities in effecting the reopening of OML-25 and reconciling the government, NNPC, and SPDC with the host communities for the betterment of Nigeria.”
Buhari told the people of OML-25 host communities that he had seen their challenges and would take it to the National Assembly.
“We are here at the right time because the 2020 Budget was submitted to the National Assembly two days ago.
“We will take it to them to see what is provided for you, and redirect the budget to capture the interest of oil producing communities like you that are facing same challenge,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that women from OML-25 host communities shutdown the flow station due to total neglect of the communities.
The host communities of OML-25 in Akuku-Toru LGA are Belema, Offoin-ama and Ngeje. (NAN)