*Promises to ensure successful execution of ongoing projects
*Gets update on projects, initiatives in N’Delta ministry
*Ogoni group urges president to probe Wike over $900m compensation
Deji Elumoye in Abuja and Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, weekend, reiterated that his administration was committed to the rapid development of the oil-producing Niger Delta region.
Speaking during a crucial meeting held with the Minister of Niger Delta Development, Hon Abubakar Momoh, at the State House, Abuja, the President in a significant commitment to the development of the Niger Delta pledged unwavering support and assistance to ensure the successful execution of projects and programmes that would bring about sustainable growth and improvement in the lives of the people in the region.
Tinubu expressed interest and appreciation for the Ministry’s endeavours, acknowledging the critical role the Niger Delta plays in the nation’s economic and social fabric.
He commended the minister for the progress made and the dedication exhibited in addressing the unique challenges faced by the region.
Earlier, the minister provided a comprehensive update on the ongoing activities and initiatives within the Niger Delta Development Ministry.
He also sought the president’s support and commitment towards the sustainable development of the region.
Momoh highlighted the vital projects and initiatives undertaken by the Niger Delta Development Ministry to uplift the socio-economic landscape of the region.
He further presented a detailed overview of ongoing infrastructure projects, community development programmes, and efforts to address certain environmental concerns in the Niger Delta.
The minister added that the ministry was poised to leverage this commitment from President Tinubu to further advance its mission of fostering holistic development, infrastructure enhancement, and community empowerment in the region.
Meanwhile, a coalition of youth groups in Ogoniland, has called on Tinubu to probe the alleged payment of monies meant for Ogoni development by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPco), to the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike.
The group led by the National Youth Council of Ogoni People (NYCOP), made the call yesterday, at a meeting facilitated by the Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI) in Bori, Khana Local Government Area of the state.
President of NYCOP, Barinuazor Emmanuel, who spoke on behalf of the groups, said the $900million equivalent to N1trillion was meant for settlement of Ogoni people between October 2021 and September 2022, over the divestment of Oil Mining Lease (OML11) to the SNEPco and the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL).
He said the probe became necessary as the Ogoni people have not been briefed on how the money was accessed or expended.
Emmanuel stressed: “It has come to our notice that between October 2021 and September 2022, the Nigerian government began negotiations with Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company over the handing over of the Ogoni field in its possession, OML 11, to the Nigerian government via the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).
“At the conclusion of this negotiation which was spearheaded by the current Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, in his then capacity as Governor of Rivers State, over $900million, in equivalence of over N1trillion, was paid by Shell for the development of Ogoni in addition to handing over its assets to the NPDC.
“Be that as it may, Ogoni people have not been properly informed of this fund from the appropriate quarters such as the Nigerian Government, the Rivers State Government, the NNPCL, SNEPco, or former Governor Nyesom Wike, who spearheaded the negotiations on behalf of the Ogoni people.
“On the other hand, information available to us shows that over $300million (over N360 billion) of the funds meant for the development of Ogoni has been shared amongst a few individuals with no recourse to the Ogoni people. We do not only find this insulting, we also find it inciting.”