The governor disclosed this when the delegation of National Executive Committee of the Pan Niger-Delta Forum (PANDEF) visited the governor on a courtesy visit at the Government House, Benin City
The governor Obaseki wondered how in spite of militarization in the area (Niger Delta Region), such volume of crude oil could be stolen to the detriment of the development of the Niger Delta Region and country.
Governor Obaseki, “What really troubles him, having been the chairman of the NEC committee on stolen crude oil is the extent of even with the level of militarization in our region. About 22 million barrels of crude oil can not be accounted for in the first quarter of the year with an estimated cost of about $1.35 billion, which is going to non-state actors that are operating in the region.”
Governor Obaseki said some people are claiming to have spent a lot of money in the last decade which was used to develop the region but there is no evidence on the ground to show that was any type of development in the region, noting, “There is need for us to use the region’s assets for economic growth to prevent people of the Niger-Delta from being shortchanged and its resources used as slush funds by some set of people.
He also said that Edo is an integral part of the Niger-Delta, we are so strategically positioned as we are the entry point to the Niger Delta. As a state, we are doing our best to advance some of the issues discussed in the 16-point agenda presented to President Muhammad Buhari on the 1st of November 2016, by over 100 senior persons of the region in a bid to find peace.”
Governor Obaseki continued, “He said that the way we utilize the resources we get as a region for the benefit of our people is an issue to be taken we need to take seriously, as we have to demonstrate the commitment to develop the region and make life better for our people.”
Governor Obaseki called on various leaders in the region to be accountable, noting, “Accountability should be the guiding principle. The region has the needed qualities of leaders to achieve development in the region for the people.”
Earlier, Retired Air Commodore, Idongesit Nkanga the PANDEF National Chairman, stressed that there is a pending 16-point agenda submitted to President Buhari on 1st November 2016, on issues of infrastructural development and peace in the region.
He appealed to governor Obaseki to lend his voice to the clamor for fiscal federalism to bring progress to the Niger Delta, He also urged politicians to close ranks for the good and development of the region.
The Edo State chairman of PANDEF Former Inspector General of Police, Dr. Solomon Arase, said it is necessary to brief the governor on pending issues affecting the region, which required federal government’s attention.
Arase noted that PANDEF was managing perceived injustice to the Niger Delta region in a non-violent manner with the expectation that such would be addressed.