Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt
The Egni ethnic group in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area , Rivers State, yesterday decried alleged underdevelopment and abandonment by federal and state governments.
The people also lamented that for the past 50 years of oil exploitation and exploration in their area, they have lacked social amenities, prompting the forthcoming Egni development summit.
Speaking with Journalists in Port Harcourt, Chairman, Egni Professors and Academic Doctors Forum (EPADOF), Prof. Daniel Ogum, said the forthcoming summit would see the production of Egni Declaration 2023.
He stressed that the Egni Declaration 2023 would serve as the area’s development compass and strategic plan in the decades ahead, especially tackling the issue of security in the area.
Ogum said the development summit, which will hold on December 26, 2023, in Obite, ONELGA, would address their concerns.
He listed the concerns as peace and security, education, youth and women empowerment, health challenges and the Egni environment, urbanisation, investment and industry, leadership, among others.
He said: “The pain in our heart is enormous. Over the past five decades, crude petroleum and natural gas have been extracted from our land. So much revenue has been donated to the Nigerian nation, from what we have as our endowment by nature.
“But, there are no flyovers in Egni; there is no hospital today that is functional in Egni. There is no hospital even in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area.
“As we speak, when we were young, we knew a lot of animals, we knew a lot of plants, a lot of species of fishes, they are no more, they have gone extinct, because of the deplorable condition of oil exploitation and exploration.
“However, we are peace-loving people, we are in pain, but we smile and beckon on the government, federal and state governments to come to our aid, to help our children go to school well.”
Ogum added that natural justice demands that the ‘goose that lays the golden egg’, should benefit from the wealth from Egni ethnic nationality.
He said: “Today, it is a knowledge-driven economy, we would not wait for oil and gas to seize to be in our home land. Nobody remembers Oloibiri anymore and today, we know that the hydrocarbon source of energy is being frowned on all over the world.
“This is the time to think of how to channel our energies more valuably and we believe that the government and the corporate citizens that have gained so much from our home land and people of goodwill, will come to our rescue.”