Group Decries Alarming Rate of Poverty, Abandoned Projects in N’Delta

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

A non-governmental organisation under the aegis of the ConnectedDevelopment (CODE) implementing Oxfam project, has decried the high rate of poverty and abandoned government projects in the Niger Delta region.

The group which noted that over 112 million Nigerians were living in abject poverty, as recorded by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), regretted that the worst affected re the host communities of oil and gas in the region.

Coordinator of CODE in Cross River, Ubong Ekpe, stated this during his presentation at a capacity strengthening workshop for policy actors on the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and Host Community Development Trust (HCDT), it organised in Port Harcourt.

Ekpe explained that during a survey, it visited several communities in the Niger Delta, to ascertain level of government developmental impact and observed that there were a lot of abandoned projects in the area, especially education and health facilities.

He said: “We had to do a survey, a preliminary visit to host communities across six states of the country which we made some findings, and we discovered some abandoned government projects in some of the oil bearing communities visited.

“Currently in Nigeria, 112 million persons are living below $1 and it is pure statistics which we carried out ourselves and aside that other groups have carried similar statistics.

“We have in our various visits to communities discovered that people are suffering notwithstanding that they are in rich economic area of the nation.”

Also in his remarks, the host, Charles Uffort, State Support officer for CODE, Rivers State, explained that the organisation held the programme to sort solution to the challenges of host communities.

“We are having a town hall meeting to mitigate the findings, the data mining we found in the communities amidst the project sites: health sector, water project and schools owned by government but are abandoned, ongoing construction but not completed.

 “We are engaging with the Ministries, CSOs, community leaders and the media, so that we can have a roundtable talk and know how to solve the problems. These are one of the things that have a setback in the communities that drags the progress of the community.

“We are engaging oil producing communities in Rivers State: the ones that have critical condition in their communities which needed serious attention are represented to see the way forward on how the abandoned projects can be completed.

“The essence is that in our data lining, there are so many abandoned projects in the communities. In each of the communities visited we did not see a completed projects.”

On his part, Eze Samuel Odum, Paramount Ruler of Odagwa Town in Etche Local Government Area, stressed that, “The programme is to sensitize our people, make us organise ourselves to work as a team because no one person does it alone.

“Why I am involve in this programme is for those of us who are community leaders to hear the challenges the communities are facing and those caused by the communities also, then contribute in creating positive changes in our areas.”

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