By Ikuru Lizzy
Port Harcourt – Mr Nkpon Ijonama, President, Andoni Youth Coalition (AYC), has urged TOTAL Nigeria Plc, an oil exploration company, to include Andoni and Eastern Obolo Local Government Areas as major impacted communities in its ongoing Egina Oil project.
Ijonama made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Port Harcourt.
AYC is an arm of the Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC) for the Obolo group domiciled in Rivers and Akwa-Ibom states.
It will be recalled that Egina project was discovered in 2003, with its oil field located at water depths of between 1,400 and 1,700 meters, 200 kilometers offshore from Port Harcourt.
Egina Oil project is operated by Total, which has a 24% stake, in partnership with NNPC, CNOOC, Sapetro and Petrobras.
Ijonama said that since December 2014, when the company started drilling, impacted communities in Andoni and Eastern Obolo extractions had yet to benefit from the huge project with capacity up to 200,000 barrels per day.
He urged the companies operating in the areas and relevant authorities to address the alleged marginalisation of the people to curb youth unemployment and restiveness.
“The level of marginalisation in terms of youth unemployment and the non-payment of royalties to impacted communities is worrisome.
“We are not ignorant of the Federal Government’s onshore-offshor laws but we request that we be captured as impacted communities to enable us to benefit the same way as others by the Egina project,” he said.
Ijonama, who is also an aspirant of Andoni Constituency in the Rivers State Assembly in the All Progressives Congress (APC), said that anti-cultism laws was key to sustainable peace in Andoni.
He said that cult activities which in recent times had ravaged parts of Andoni and its environs calls for urgent legislative attention.
Ijonama said that there was need for operational laws in the state to instill discipline and restore peace to the area.
“The level of insecurity and cult activities around coastal communities is alarming in spite of interventions by the security operatives.
“I believe that we need a stringent law to tackle cultism, there is need to criminalise cultism to restore peace to our communities,” he said.
He also appealed to the youth in the areas to ensure total compliance to the Independence National Electoral Commission’s PVC issuance.
“As INEC prepares to round up this quarter of PVC issuance against the 2019 general elections, I urge all registered youths who have yet to obtain their PVCs to do so before the Aug. 17 deadline,” he said.