From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
The people of Ugu ward in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State, yesterday, gave the federal government 24 hours ultimatum to reverse the nomination of Patrick Aisowieren as member representing the state in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), saying that failure to do so, they would be compelled to “stop the exploration of oil and gas in their communities.”
In a petition addressed to Senator Adams Oshiomhole, Chairman, Senate Committee on Interior, the petitioners accused the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) of “incessant marginalisation, undermining and oppression of the oil and gas communities in Edo State.”
According to the petitioners, “the reason why Edo State is called a member of NDDC is because of the oil and gas community and these
communities are not well represented on the appointment of NDDC.
“Edo State has the largest gas deposit in the whole of West Africa. It is sited in Oben in Orhionmwon Local Government Area. We are demanding the immediate reversal of the nomination of Hon. Patrick Aisowieren as member of the board of NDDC.
“That he, Hon. Aisowieren's nomination, is not the wish of the people. Hon. Aisowieren's nomination is not in compliant with the provision of section 12(1) of the NDDC (Establishment) Act 2000. The aforementioned Act clearly stated that the nominee for the position of any state representative shall be an indigene of oil producing area.
“The said Hon. Aisowieren is not an indigene of oil producing area of Edo State.
“We are calling on Mr. President to do the needful and withdraw the
nomination of Hon. Aisowieren with immediate effect. We are giving a
48hours ultimatum else we shall stop the exploration of gas and oil in our communities.”
Reacting to the alleged call to drop the name of Aisowieren from the NDDC board, Liberty Ruyi, Special Assistant, Administration and Public Relations Officer to Patrick Aisowieren, described the protesters as busy bodies sponsored by the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the fear of his political clout ahead of the 2024 Edo governorship election.
He said beyond the fact that the sponsor and leader of the protesters sabotaged the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last general elections where he allegedly collected money from the PDP candidates to gift them his unit and community, their protest seems to be from the point of lack of knowledge of the law.
Ruyi said the NDDC Act prescribes a nominee from oil producing areas and that Aisowieren is from the same Local Government Area as the protesters, and from Oza-Aibiokunla which houses deposits of crude oil, a Pipeline, and a Product Marketing Company, PPMC with crude oil pipeline covering over 40 percent of his community land, and even a modular refinery in a distant of less than three kilometers in Egbokor of the same Local Government Area.
Ruyi added that, so, it is the usual funny scenario when people of little education go public with issues of law particularly in this kind of instance when a man who worked for the PDP in the last election wants to dictate what happens to appointments in APC.