“Visit the oil producing communities,” protesters tell Yemi Osinbajo in Benin City

  • “I’m going to demonstrate too,” Osinbajo jokingly said

Protesters on Monday March 6, 2017 stormed the venue of a Town Hall meeting in Benin City, Edo State, calling on Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to visit the “core” oil producing communities.

Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo was in the state to meet with the Edo State government and the oil producing communities.

“If you go to the oil producing communities and see things you will pity us,” one of the protesters angrily said to Mr. Osinbajo.

He wasn’t given audience to speak though, he angrily stood up from the far behind to tell Mr. Osinbajo that they felt disappointed and angry when they were told that Mr. Osinbajo won’t be visiting the communities because of insecurity.

“If you know that our place is not secured (for you to visit), leave our oil alone.”

Another protester told the acting president, “Edo people are peace-loving, but that doesn’t mean that we are cowards.

“We are not feeling the impact of the NDDC and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs. We have been marginalised in the amnesty programme (of the federal government).”

The protesters carried placards with different inscriptions, broke into the venue of the meeting at the Samuel Ogbemudia College (formerly the New Era College), Benin City, and demanded a fair treatment for the oil producing communities in the state.

There was disorderliness in the hall immediately the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Usani, was done with his presentation.

The protesters pushed their way forward into the hall and continued waving their placards.

About nine speakers, including the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, had already made their presentations before tension rose in the hall.

“Enough of the marginalisation of the host communities,” said the inscription on one of the placards.

Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, and his deputy, Philip Shuaibu, stood up from their seats and moved into the crowd to talk to the youth.

The protesters, however, insisted they be allowed to speak their mind to Mr. Osinbajo.

The commotion in the hall continued for some minutes.

When the protesters were eventually given the opportunity to speak, they demanded that the acting president must visit the oil producing communities in order to have a firsthand knowledge of what the people were going through.

Governor Obaseki, in his address, told the acting president that the state has had its fair share of deprivation in the Niger Delta.

“Our youths are very restive,” Mr. Obaseki said.

Throughout the commotion, the acting president appeared unperturbed where he sat at the table with other dignitaries.

“I’m going to demonstrate,” Osinbajo jokingly said

“I am now going to begin my own demonstration,” Mr. Osinbajo said jokingly before making his speech.

“Our plan is to visit all the oil producing communities in the state. There is no issue of insecurity,” Mr. Osinbajo said.

He said there wasn’t enough time to visit all oil producing communities.

Mr. Osinbajo told the people that he and Mr. Obaseki have agreed that they must find time to visit the communities.

He explained the “new vision” of President Muhammadu Buhari for the people of the Niger Delta.

“The new vision will define the future,” he said. “The provision of social amenities by the government is the right of every community.”