Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta has said that equity and fairness in allocation of projects to upland and riverside communities by his administration has contributed to peace and stable oil production in the state.
According to him, our administration’s commitment to sustainable development in oil-bearing and riverside communities is largely accountable for the pervading peace and harmony among ethnic groups in the state.
Okowa stated this while inspecting the multi-billion naira Trans-Warri road and bridges in Warri South Local Government Area of the state on Wednesday.
He expressed regret that the project couldn’t be completed under his tenure, but commended the contractor for its commitment to the project.
“The Trans-Warri roads and bridges is a worthwhile project; it is something that is sensitive to the Itsekiri nation.
“We are committed to delivering on this project and we have continued to plough resources into the upland and the riverine.
“I know of so many communities in the riverine that when you visit them, you will be surprised that there are paved roads. Within the Ogulagha stretch, we have 20 kilometres of road that we had to construct; and that has given us a lot of peace.
“A lot of the oil is actually produced in the riverine areas. So why should they be neglected? Yes, we spend a lot more money, probably, five times more than you do in the uplands to build roads.
“But, they are also human beings and they are part of the state. And, if they actually produce a lot of the oil, why would you spend the oil money on the uplands alone and ignore them?
“We thought that was not right. As we continued to build roads in the upland areas, we had to take roads and other developments into the riverine areas,” he said.
The governor explained that the project was prioritised because it was dear to the Itsekiri people and would help open up other communities along the corridor.
“We prioritised this road and we generally believe that whatever you are able to do in the uplands, you should also spend such resources to get to the riverine communities.
“So if you watch through, you will find that in the last eight years, we have paid a lot of attention to the riverine communities; and this project is one of them.
“The terrain is quite challenging and with what we see here today, a lot has been done, both by the state government and Setraco itself.
“We have continued to finance the project within the limits of our resources. We are happy that Setraco is on site now and we will continue to do the best that we can,” he said.
Okowa pointed out that developing the oil-producing communities had contributed to peace and improved oil production for the country, adding that his administration had shown much commitment to the project.
“We are glad for it because the peace itself has enabled us to have greater production of oil from Delta State.
“As at today and in the last three years, we have stood in the number one position in the production of crude oil in the country; and that’s good for us.
“The project started during the former governor’s administration. I don’t want to go into details, but we had to pay some of the debts owed Setraco, the contractor, and continued to urge them to continue to work, as we cleared the debts for certificates earned.
“I must tell you that not too many contractors can work the way they have worked,” he added.