BY; RALPH OKHIRIA, Benin.
Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has warned that the federal government would deal decisively with any contractor who embezzled government money and thereafter abandoned projects in the country particularly in the Niger-Delta region.
The acting president gave the warning Monday in Benin City, Edo State when he paid a one day visit to the state as part of efforts by the Federal Government to ensure lasting peace in the Niger Delta.
Prof. Osinbajo, also assured that the President Muhammadu Buhari’s led government is committed to treat the Niger Delta region as a special development Area.
At the Town Hall meeting attended by top government functionaries including the state governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki and representatives of Oil Producing Communities in the state.
Osinbajo, regretted that over the years, the elite class have deprived the masses of their fair share of the national cake assuring that Buhari is committed to change the anomaly.
According to him ” Am here as an emissary of President Muhammadu Buhari. In November 2016, PANDEF visited Buhari and submited a16 point road map and the President decided that we will visit these communities.
” Am trying to understand what the issues are, every where I look, the story is same, many people have been deprived, story of neglect and corruption have deprived the people of oil communities for so many years”
” This is an important engagement, not an engagement we are taking lightly at all. The time we have spent in the past fews days going from communities to communities shows that it is a serious engagement. We are committed to every one of the things we say we want to do” He assured.
The Acting President Osinbajo while listening attentively to speaker after speaker had received a telephone call from President Muhammadu Buhari which lasted for about three minutes thereby halting the proceeding.
Host Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, in his speech, however assured that the state government is ready to work and partner with the federal government to bring development to the region.
Edo State Deputy Governor,Comrade Phillip Shaibu in his remark said the interaction will help to serve as a platform for government and stakeholders to provide solution to the challenges confronting the oil communities, adding that it will equally fast track the issue relating to restiveness and get the economic back to track.
Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu called on multi-national oil companies doing business in the Niger Delta to live up to their responsibilities to their host communities noting that it is no longer business as usual.