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NDDC: ORON UNION FROM AKWA-IBOM STATE WRITES PREDISENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI, SETS THE RECORDS STRAIGHT.

President Muhammadu Buhari.

Oron Union, an umbrella body of Oron people from Akwa-Ibom State from across the world has written an open letter to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari on what the union called “HALF TRUTH” in a letter written by another Union, the Ekid People’s Union and in their letter, used claims they are not comfortable with and therefore, wish to speak out to set the records straight.

In the letter written to the President by the Ekid People’s Union, titled, RE: CONSTITUTION OF THE MANAGEMENT BOARD OF NDDC: Setting The Records Straight. The attention of Oron Union, the apex socio-cultural organization of Oro people has been drawn to a misleading and provocative letter on the aforestated subject matter written by Ekid People's Union to the President and published in some national dailies. The said publication is not only characterised by half truths and outright falsehoods, it is riddled with inconsistencies, illogicalities, distortions and barefaced misrepresentations. Ordinarily, we would have ignored the tantrums and lies contained in the said petition challenging the right of Oron Federal Constituency as the largest oil producing community in Akwa Ibom State. For the avoidance of doubt, what is politically known as Oron Federal Constituency is composed of five littoral Local Government Areas which are all oil and gas producing.

For the avoidance of doubt, what is politically known as Oron Federal Constituency is composed of five littoral Local Government Areas which are all oil and gas producing. The Local Government Areas are - Mbo, Okobo, Oron, Urueoffong/Oruko and Udung Uko. The oil producing status of the five Local Government Areas of Oron Federal Constituency was confirmed with legislative backing by the National Assembly through a Resolution passed on Wednesday 16th May, 2012.

The said Resolution was conveyed by the Clerk of the National Assembly to the Secretary to

the Government of the Federation(SGF) through a letter dated 23rd May, 2012 and referenced NASS/CNA/105/VOL. 17/116 (See photocopy of the Resolution attached).

Acting on the Resolution of the National Assembly, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) sent a letter dated 9th July, 2012 and referenced SGF. 15/T/693 to the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for implementation.

It is incontestably on record that there are nine oil companies operating in Oron Federal Constituency, namely-

1) MONI PULO PETROLEUM DEVELOPMENT LTD (OPL 230)

2) ADDAX PETROLEUM DEVELOPMENT COMPANY LTD(SINOPEC) (OML 123)

3) SEVEN/ UNIVERSAL ENERGY STUBB CREEK (OML 14)

4) SOVEREIGN /NEXEN /ORIENTAL ENERGY (OML 115

5) ORIENTAL ENERGY (OML 67)

6) SHELL PETROLEUM DEVELOPMENT COMPANY LTD( OML 14)

7) AMALGAMATED OIL COMPANY OF NIGERIA (AMOCON)

8) TOTAL E&P (OML 101 and 102.

9) EXXONMOBIL.

Despite being the largest oil producing community in Akwa Ibom State, Oron Federal Constituency has never enjoyed a full term on the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). From the year 2000 when the Commission was established, no Oro man was appointed into its Board until 2013 when Engr. Etim Inyang Jnr was appointed Akwa Ibom State Representative. Unfortunately, that tenure was cut short in 2015 and he was replaced by Mr. Samuel Frank of Eket Federal Constituency. It is instructive that he was not replaced by another person from either his native Mbo Local Government Area or Oron Federal Constituency.

Interestingly, Ekid People's Union never protested this development because it benefitted them. The next time anyone from Oron Federal Constituency was appointed into NDDC was in 2020 when Barr. Efiong Akwa was appointed into the Interim Management Committee (IMC). In effect, Oron Federal Constituency is yet to enjoy the benefit of a full term in a substantive position on the Board of the Commission. It is also important to note that Eket Federal Constituency had already produced a full term State Representative in the person of Barr. Bassey Dan Abia, the same Barr. Bassey Dan Abia later became Board Chairman and subsequently Managing Director of the Commission. Mr Ibanga Etang of the same Federal Constituency served as Executive Director, Finance and Administration of the Commission.

Moreso, Mr. Godwin Eyo Moffat and Imaobong Inyang of the same community had previously served as State Representatives in the Commission. It is pertinent to state that all the names mentioned above are indigenes of the Ekid speaking part of Eket Federal Constituency and by extension, members of Ekid People's Union.

It is laughable that Ekid People's Union is protesting the possibility of a simultaneous appointment of two persons from two different Local Government Areas into the Board of the NDDC, whereas two blood brothers of Ekid origin from Esit Eket Local Government Area - Barr. Bassey Dan Abia and Pastor Godwin Mofatt had once simultaneously occupied the posts of Board Chairman and Akwa Ibom State representative on the Board of the Commission. This is either a case of hypocrisy or amnesia.

In a fruitless attempt to mislead Mr. President and unsuspecting Nigerians, Ekid People's Union disingenuously listed Oil Producing Local Government Areas of Akwa Ibom State as Ibeno, Eket, Esit Eket, Onna, Eastern Obolo, Mbo, Ikot Abasi, Mkpat Enin and Okobo. They dubiously omitted Urueoffong/Oruko, Udung Uko and Oron Local Government Areas from the list. They even went ahead to allocate spurious oil production percentages to each Local Government Area while giving humongous 26% and 20% to Eket and Esit Eket Local Government Areas respectively of Eket Federal Constituency.

In the figment of their imagination, land logged Eket and Esit Eket Local Government Areas purportedly produce a combined 46% of the total production output of Akwa Ibom, a littoral State whose oil deposits are more than 90% offshore.

If the land logged Eket and Esit Eket Local Government Areas were oil producing, Akwa Ibom State would not have lost its oil producing status when the obnoxious onshore/offshore dichotomy was introduced by the administration of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

Moreover, on July 10, 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that seventy six (76) oil wells which were subjects of a dispute between Akwa Ibom and Cross River States belonged to Akwa Ibom State. Considering the fact that it is Oron Federal Constituency that shares maritime boundary with Cross River State, the oil wells are now owned by Akwa Ibom State by virtue of their location in Oro waters.

It is a well known fact that Eket's only valid but fragile claim to being an oil producing community is its historical relationship with, and geographical proximity to Ibeno Local Government Area. It can be recalled that the present Ibeno Local Government Area, an oil producing and littoral community was a part of the old Eket Local Government Area. That relationship with Ibeno automatically conferred an oil producing status on the land logged Eket with the corresponding benefit of hosting a housing estate and the now abandoned airstrip. Ordinarily, with the creation of Ibeno Local Government Area, Eket had ceased to be an oil producing community. One then wonders where it gets the 26% oil it claims to be contributing to the State.

It is noteworthy that the oil producing Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District is made up of three Federal Constituencies, namely Eket, Ikot Abasi and Oron. A review of the spread of NDDC Board appointments among these federal constituencies shows that out of a total of sixteen (16) NDDC Board appointments made in Akwa Ibom State between 2000 and 2021, Eket Federal Constituency takes a whopping eleven (11) slots, Ikot Abasi, three(3) slots while Oron Federal Constituency takes a meagre two(2) slots. Out of the two Board appointments which came to Oron Federal Constituency, one was a State Representative who spent about two years in office while the other is a member of the Interim Management Committee (IMC).

In conclusion, it is clear that the petition by Ekid People's Union is spurious, mischievous, misleading and lacks merit. In view of the fact that there's no known oil company operating in the environment of the petitioner (Ekid People's Union), its petition is both overreaching and unjustifiable.

Curiously, Oron Federal Constituency with nine (9) oil companies operating in its territory that contribute over 80% of the total oil production output of Akwa Ibom State has been at the receiving end of unwholesome political marginalisation in terms of appointments into NDDC Board. Time is now ripe for this ugly situation of imbalance to be redressed by giving Oro its due in terms of appointments into the NDDC Board in the interest of equity, fairness and justice.

 

Yours Sincerely,

Bishop Etim Ante

President General


Prince Evans Esifa

Publicity Secretary

Cc:

1 .The Senate President, National Assembly, Abuja

2. The Speaker, House of Representatives

3. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation

4. The Chief of Staff to the President

5. The Honourable Minister, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Abuja

6. The Chairman, Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions

7. The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on NDDC

8. Senator Bassey Albert Akpan, Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Caucus.

 

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