State Government or Federal Government to be blamed for the poor state of the Niger Delta oil-producing Communities?
Several accusations by the Niger Deltans, the South-South region, and the bedrock of Nigeria’s oil.
This region has played a role in placing Nigeria in the list of oil-producing communities in the world and besides that Nigeria is rated amongst the top oil-producing countries as well. But with all this, comes a feeling of negligence by the oil-producing communities who feel left out of every development the government is putting efforts on.
The Niger Deltans feels the federal government is not concerned about their wellbeing, neither does it care about the state of their environment and livelihood, there has been a constant degeneration of the environment, which does not only occur because of oil spillages, but floods due to the vast mass of water covering almost half of the region and many of the communities are built on water too.
It will be very much surprised to know that till now, the majority of the communities in the oil-producing region still lacks good water supply, good roads, no electricity and the odd environmental hazard caused by oil spillages during oil drilling. Such communities should be the best cared for, the people there deserve the best life can offer in the area of education, electricity, infrastructural development, and the provision of steady food support.
This feeling of neglect brought about all forms of protests and quest to stop further drilling of oil in the region if the federal government is not willing to better the lives of the people. The people in the oil-producing region without a doubt believe that the Nigerian government abandoned its region in the area of development and improvement of lives and wellbeing of the people from the region, which also brings about the thought of being exploited, cheated and abused despite the input of her region in strengthening the country’s economy.
Though with all these claims of abandonment by the federal government, comes some realities, the federal government responded to these accusations when it disclosed that the region is entitled to 13% of the revenue generation crude oil for the development of the region and all the oil companies in the region also gives the states 3% for the development of the communities.
Also, that the host communities are given some funds too, but it seems as if some group of persons are the beneficiaries of this funds purposed for the development of the communities, the betterment of the lives of the poor and vulnerable people and this has been going on for over 10yrs now, but yet the oil-producing communities still remains and looks more like a den and becomes more impoverished as the day goes by.
Well, out of curiosity, I had a brief chat with the Honourable Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Sen. Tayo Alasoadura who was the former Minister of State for Labour and Employment and his currently Minister of State Federal Ministry of Niger Delta, in his office concerning the claims by the Niger Deltans that the federal government abandoned the region, though newly appointed, but not a novice as to what is going on in the region, because even a common man that is of age and a citizen of Nigeria knows what is happening in the region.
So, in his response to My question he said: “That is not true, because the federal government every year gives each of the states their own state budget out of the country’s yearly budget.
“And the federal government also gives 13% of the generated revenue from crude oil to the state governments of the oil-producing communities, while the oil companies in the host states also give them 3% for the development of the oil-producing communities besides other incentives.
“But it seems that some few people sit on the money meant for the development of the oil-producing communities and that is not good, a lot of lives are tied to that.
“The federal government is paying for the amnesty.
“Besides the funds given by the federal government other international organizations and individuals also give funds to the state governors for the development of the communities and the people.
He further said: “The federal government has ordered the NDDC, to carry out an audit, for all the funds given to that region for the past 10yrs.
“It is surprising to hear the NDDC saying they gave 2million each to a total of 2000 youths in that region to clear some stampede water, and that cannot be true”. He said.
He then said: “It is very inhuman for some people to embezzle funds meant for the development of lives, the Niger Deltans should ask their governors the whereabouts of all the money given to them by the federal government.
Now, it is obvious that the federal government has been playing its part to ensure that every indigene from the oil-producing communities in the Niger Delta region is entitled to good livelihood in every area, the federal government is also doing everything to ensure the safety of the people in the region.
But why is the federal government the recipient of the blame?
By: Ayooluwa Joshua