SPECIAL REPORT: Nigeria’s oil-rich communities abandoned in shocking poverty despite huge wealth

Government Primary School, Isotoyo, Eastern Obolo
Photo: Cletus Ukpong
Government Primary School, Isotoyo, Eastern Obolo
Photo: Cletus Ukpong

The man wearing T-shirt on a wrapper lowers his head and frame slightly, to enable him step out of a small opening that serves as entrance door to his thatched house. He identifies himself simply as Fingesi.

“I teach in that school over there,” Fingesi says, pointing at a makeshift structure with zinc roof, near his house, which serves as the community’s only primary school.

Apart from two chalkboards nailed loosely onto wooden pillars, nothing suggests this is a place for learning. A goat lies on the only school desk, and what would have been a second desk is broken.

As many as 40 pupils sometimes cram inside the small space to receive lessons on Mathematics, English, Social Studies and other subjects from Fingesi and one other teacher who also serves as the school head.

That is a bit of how life unfolds in Isotoyo, in Amazaba community of oil-rich Eastern Obolo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.

Eastern Obolo lies on the coastline of the Qua Iboe River, and covers a landmass of 117.000 square kilometre according to state government record.

Amazaba has eight villages, all of whom were displaced from their original homeland after a 2008 communal clash with Ikot Udo, a village in neighbouring Mkpat Enin Local Government Area.

The Isotoyo primary school, which serves the Amazaba group of villages with a population of more than 7,000, is owned by the state government but run by the community.

“I sometimes feel like crying,” Fingesi says about the state of the rundown school. “But you know I can’t do that before the pupils.”

He has been teaching for 10 years, and believes the school has been abandoned by local authorities.

“The community is my own,” he says. “If I abandon my job, it means that this school will be closed down.”

Like most other Eastern Obolo communities, Amazaba is cut off from Okoroete, the local government headquarters, by a river. Access is only by water, using canoes.

Evidence of civilisation is scarce here: no electricity or pipe borne water. Locals drink from open ponds that are available throughout the community. And nearly all the houses here, including a local branch of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, are built with palm fronds.

Gogonte Nglass, the village head of Ama Nglass, one of the villages that make up Amazaba, told PREMIUM TIMES he sent his children out of the community “so they could have a better life”, and now lives only with his wife.

Some of Mr. Nglass’ children are at Okoroete, the capital, while others are at Ibeno, a neighbouring oil-producing local government area in the state.

His three-year-old daughter died of an unknown ailment last year in Amazaba, before he could rush her across the river to Okoroete for medical help.

“Raped and forgotten”

Despite its shocking scale of deprivation and lack, Eastern Obolo is one of Nigeria’s richest local government areas in terms of natural resources.

It is rich in oil and gas deposits, with multinationals like Exxon Mobil, Total E&P Nigeria Limited and Amni International Petroleum Company Limited operating in the waters close by for decades.

From their homes at Edonwik and other coastal communities, locals could sight Mobil’s Osso Condensate platform and other platforms in the waters.

For several reasons, including regional politics, it is hard to come by the exact figures that show the amount of oil and gas here.

John Ukpatu, who has worked as an oil and gas consultant for several years in Eastern Obolo, told PREMIUM TIMES that there were more than 100 oil wells in the area.

Mr. Ukpatu, who holds a Ph.D in fisheries and aquatic science, said Mobil sees neighbouring Ibeno, Eket, Esit Eket and Onna local government areas of Akwa Ibom as its host communities to the detriment of Eastern Obolo.

“Eastern Obolo is in court against Mobil to prove that the company is operating within Eastern Obolo,” Mr. Ukpatu said.

Last year, the strained relationship between Eastern Obolo and Amni led traditional rulers in the area to call on the federal government to withdraw the operating license of the company.

Between 2010 and 2016, federal records show that Eastern Obolo received N8.22 billion in allocation that sifts through the state monthly.

But there is hardly anything on ground to show that the people benefited from that money.

FAAC Allocation to Eastern Obolo LGA, Akwa Ibom State (2010-2016)
FAAC Allocation to Eastern Obolo LGA, Akwa Ibom State (2010-2016)
Edonwik community, Eastern Obolo, Akwa Ibom
Edonwik community, Eastern Obolo, Akwa Ibom
Photo: Cletus Ukpong

Poverty lives and walks around everywhere, among the people. With no sewers, most locals in Eastern Obolo defecate in the open, a common feature of Nigeria’s slums and rural areas.

At Edonwik community, men defecate along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, while women go over to the shores of the tributaries of the Qua Iboe River where the mangrove there provides some cover.

Several incidents of oil spillages have polluted the ecosystem in Eastern Obolo and disrupted fishing which is the major preoccupation of the people.

“To get fish in recent times, the people go after the fishing trawlers in the deep sea, and buy the rotten and smaller fishes as well as shrimp for sale,” says a 2009 research report on oil exploration activities in the area, published in African Research Review.

“Although it now becomes their means of livelihood, going after it is dangerous. Almost on weekly basis, two or three out of five persons in speed boats lost their lives while trying to buy fish from trawlers.

Although residents mainly fish, there is no evidence it is a thriving business.

In a traditional Nigerian society, a village market is seen as a communal heritage and a thing of pride for the people. But in Eastern Obolo – with a population of more than 60,000, according to the 2006 national census – the people have learned to live for decades with the humiliation of not having a market of their own.

Residents travel some 15 kilometers to Ukam, a weekly market in neighbouring Mkpat Enin Local Government Area, to buy foodstuffs and other items.

For most residents, going to Ukam market is a two-day journey. In the first leg of the journey, the people, mostly women, arrive at Mkpat Enin in the evening and rest for the day in any available space near the market.

The dawn of a new day meets them inside the market where they must quickly buy their wares – yam, rice, garri, cocoyam, palm oil, and so on – and then set forth on the journey back home, using mostly bicycles and motorcycles.

The building of market stalls is the responsibility of the local government council. But despite receiving billions of naira over decades, that has not happened.

Uduyork Aboh, a former representative of Ikot Abasi/Eastern Obolo State Constituency, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, suggested corruption could be the reason for the endemic poverty in the area.

Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel

But he also pointed at the fact that federal payments, mostly derived from oil, are held by state governments, even though the monies are statutorily meant for local government areas. The controversial practice leaves local governments across the country with meagre funding.

“Well, the local government chairmen will always say that the state is taking the statutory allocation meant for the local council,” Mr. Aboh told PREMIUM TIMES. “I don’t know how far it is true.

“At the end of the month, maybe they will just give them (the chairmen) N1 million or N2 million as running cost for the council. So, nothing will be left for development.”

Coloured Water

Many people in Eastern Obolo drink from ponds, not minding its colour and taste. During dry seasons when the ponds are dry, residents dig deeper in the soil for water.

Those who can afford, use sachet water, popularly called “pure water”, brought into Eastern Obolo from Ikot Abasi, Mkpat Enin, and other neighbouring local government areas.

“I buy water from the city, and take to the village to drink whenever I am traveling to the village,” says Iroigak Ikann, a former commissioner for lands and housing in the state.

Residents say even the few borehole available at the local government headquarters, Okoroete, do not produce drinkable water.

A little girl fetches water from a pond at Okorombokho, Eastern Obolo, Akwa Ibom
A little girl fetches water from a pond at Okorombokho, Eastern Obolo, Akwa Ibom

A 2005 study showed that water from boreholes in Eastern Obolo contained high quantity of seven species of bacteria like Bacillus subtilis, Enterococcus faecalis, Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.

The study, conducted by Alfred Itah and Comfort Akpan, from the Department of Microbiology, University of Port Harcourt, also found out that the quantities of iron and mercury in some of the boreholes were above World Health Organization acceptable standard.

The former commissioner, Mr. Ikann, blamed the Akwa Ibom state government for the underdevelopment of Eastern Obolo.

“It is an obligation of the state (to develop Eastern Obolo); we don’t have to beg for it,” he told PREMIUM TIMES.

“When someone says he wants to be a governor, he is telling the people ‘I am prepared to provide this for you’.

“But they provide it in their hometowns and ignore the places where they get the wealth from,” he said.

Multimillion naira misplaced priority

Eastern Obolo has just one hospital, a general hospital in Okoroete, built and commissioned in 2012 by the administration of Governor Godswill Akpabio.

There are only two doctors in the hospital, against the WHO recommendation of one per 1,000 people. In addition to the general hospital, the local government area has seven primary healthcare centres. But almost all the facilities are dysfunctional.

The road to the general hospital is swampy. Mr. Aboh told PREMIUM TIMES that the official car of Mr. Akpabio got stuck in the untarred road when the former governor went to commission the hospital.

“When the people wanted to present a request to Akpabio, the governor told them that their situation didn’t call for any presentation, that he had already seen the neglect (in Eastern Obolo),” Mr. Aboh said.

The former lawmaker said that Mr. Akpabio, however, failed in his promise to develop the area.

The Akpabio administration did not construct even a kilometer of road in the area throughout his eight years in office, according to Mr. Aboh.

What perhaps stands out as the clearest evidence of misuse of public funds in the area is the Godswill Akpabio Guest House, Okoroete, built by the local government council and named after Mr. Akpabio. The guest house, completely taken over by weeds, has been abandoned.

Francis Uduyork, a former chairman of Eastern Obolo, led the local government area for six years, from 2008 to 2015. It was during his tenure that the Godswill Akpabio Guest House was built.

Godswil Akpabio Guest House, Okoroete, Eastern Obolo, Akwa Ibom State
Godswil Akpabio Guest House, Okoroete, Eastern Obolo, Akwa Ibom State

Mr. Uduyork defended the project as an example of good planning.

“We conceived the idea because visitors who came to the local government area would go back at the end of the day to sleep in the neighbouring local government areas,” said Mr. Uduyork who now represents Ikot Abasi Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, Abuja.

Mr. Uduyork said it was a better decision to build the guest house than to build market stalls.

“Market is one of the things we tried to do,” he said. “Market is meant for exchange of goods. If there are no people to exchange goods for money, then the market won’t be functional.”

The local council, under the administration of Mr. Uduyork, constructed a building for a skill acquisition centre and another building meant for use as legislative chambers by the councilors. But sadly, both buildings are not in use.

Mr. Uduyork said he was not aware of the state government tampering with the money meant for the local government area.

Visiting only during political campaigns

Edwin Ukorem, the village head of Edonwik, told PREMIUM TIMES that his people had been living by the mercy of God. He said the coastal community, with about 6,000 people, has no school, no borehole or health post.

Apart from their fishing business, the only thing they have in the community are churches – the local branches of the Holy Mt. Zion Church and the Mt. Zion Mission.

Mr. Ukorem said the people were frequently locked in and prevented from leaving the village whenever the river tide ebbs away.

“No matter how critical your situation is, you’ll have to wait for the tide to come back before you could see a canoe that will take you out or into the community,” he said.

Edwin Ukorem, village head, Edonwik, Eastern Obolo, Akwa Ibom State
Edwin Ukorem, village head, Edonwik, Eastern Obolo, Akwa Ibom State

Some residents also fear that the people of the community could someday wake up to behold their community and others along the coast submerged.

PREMIUM TIMES, during its visit to Edonwik, saw evidence showing that some parts of the community had been washed away by ocean waves.

The village head, Mr. Ukorem, said the only time government officials visit the area is either during political campaigns or oil spillages.

Ibeno, also ravaged by poverty

The situation in Ibeno, another oil-producing local government area in Akwa Ibom, is not much different from Eastern Obolo’s.

Ibeno is host to ExxonMobil. The firm’s operational office, Qua Iboe Terminal, is located at Mkpanak in Ibeno.

Okoritak community, Ibeno.
Okoritak community, Ibeno.

As Akwa Ibom is amongst Nigeria’s top oil producing state, Ibeno and Eastern Obolo are amongst the state’s leading oil producing local government areas.

While Mobil and the Niger Delta interventionist agency, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), have constructed several projects like roads and boreholes in the area, especially in the local government headquarters, Ukpenekang, poverty is still very visible everywhere.

Worst hit areas are communities across the Qua Iboe River where villagers living in shanties have to contend with stench from dirty ponds.

The two main secondary schools in Ibeno – St. Peter and Paul Technical College, Mkpanak, and Secondary Grammar school, Upenekang – were built through community effort, with substantial support either from a church, PREMIUM TIMES learned.

A model secondary school at Atabrikang, started by the Akwa Ibom state government during the administration of Governor Victor Attah, has been abandoned for years now. Mr. Attah left office in 2007.

The case of the Government Primary School, Okori-Itak, is shocking.  While the six-classroom block, commissioned in 2011 by the immediate past administration of Mr. Akpabio, is furnished with school desks, no activity takes place in the school, as the classrooms and the staff office are locked.

Locals told PREMIUM TIMES no single teacher has been posted to the school.

Ibeno is also plagued with the water crisis. Abandoned borehole project is a common sight in several of the communities PREMIUM TIMES visited.

At Okori-Itak, the community spokesman, John Eyo, led this reporter to the site of a dilapidated water project, where the overhead tank said to have been blown away by wind is yet to be replaced for more than five years now.

For now, the community source of drinking water, according to Mr. Eyo, is either rain or “pure water” brought in for sale from Mkpanak.

Somewhere in the community, PREMIUM TIMES saw young girls fetching water from a weed-infested shallow pit near a corked oil well. The pit, they said, was where they get drinking water from.

Among the abandoned projects in Ibeno is a federal government-owned multi-billion naira skill acquisition centre at Iwuoachang. The project, which could help upgrade the capacity of the youth of the area when completed, was handled by the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.

Huge funds, nothing on ground

Ibeno received a total of N8.645 billion from the federation account between 2010 and 2106.  While the amount is by far insignificant compared to the town’s oil wealth, it is still unclear where the money has gone to over the years, as there are no signs of projects done by the local government council.

FAAC Allocation to Ibeno LGA, Akwa Ibom State (2010-2016)
FAAC Allocation to Ibeno LGA, Akwa Ibom State (2010-2016)

Samuel Eyo, a former councilor in Ibeno, laughed when asked why the local council was not executing development projects in the area. “When there is no financial autonomy for the local government area, what do you expect local government councils to do?” Mr. Eyo asked PREMIUM TIMES.

Mr. Eyo’s thinking, which is shared by most people in Ibeno, is that the federal government and the Akwa Ibom State government have conspired against the area.

Mobil, Mr. Eyo said, is no longer the good neighbour it used to be in the past. “I don’t know what we have done to the rest of the world that they can’t sympathise with us over what we are going through.”

Sunday Akpanowong, the village head of Iwuo Okpom, accused both the federal and the state government of colluding with Mobil to deny Ibeno people of the benefits that should accrue to them from the exploration of oil.

Pond where health workers scoop water near the parameter fence of the General Hospital, Okoroete, Eastern Obolo
Pond where health workers scoop water near the parameter fence of the General Hospital, Okoroete, Eastern Obolo

New government

The Commissioner for Information in the state, Charles Udoh, told PREMIUM TIMES that the current administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel was just 20 months old in office, and that the administration was doing everything possible to carry along every community in the state’s development plan.

“You know that development can’t take place everywhere across the state at the same time in just 20 months. Things happen in phases. Nobody will be left out.

“Government has a plan in place to motivate local government authorities to be on top of their game. Government shouldn’t function only at the centre; government should also function in those local areas.

“This government is committed to making sure that no part of this state is left out in its development process.”

The former commissioner, Mr. Ikann, believes the solution to the poverty and the shameful neglect of the oil producing communities in Akwa Ibom lies in the 13 per cent oil derivation fund.

“If the federal government pays 13 per cent derivation to oil producing states, is it not fair that the state, in turn, pays 13 per cent of the fund to the oil producing local government areas?

“If the government continues to neglect the area, I think a day is coming when Eastern Obolo will get its due,” said Mr. Ikann.

The Natural Resource Governance Institute provided support for this reporting.


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  • Greedy irresponsible governor(s) who can’t run a state successful due to looting now want a Nation.

    God save Nigeria from Nigerians

    • aboki

      We should look at inward and asked
      1. What happened to NDDC funds?
      2. 13% derivation should be overlooked?
      3. Ministry of Niger Delta nko?
      4. The State’s allocation from Federation Account?
      5. Why multi national oil COMPANIES inactive in this area?
      Let us shame the devils and address the above issues b4 any abuses and names calling.

      • No it’s PMB that came to ND and took the roof off the building there-by turning the school into shanty towns.

        • Julius

          Imagine that…all the while mama piss had $15million in one account just for raining day health purposes.

    • Julius

      So true !

  • Finitri

    The problem of the ND isn’t only federal. If they had made judicious use of the resources shared centrally to them, they would have been in a better position to negotiate for more. A lot has been frittered away. If the govt accedes to their request for 50% derivation, the ND will still reel with poverty while some individuals will be super rich. The battle should be taken to the state government. Pipeline destruction isn’t the way to go. They lack visionary leaders

    • The problem of ND is the same as the problem of Kano, Ekiti or Abia, greedy greedy worthless governor and administrators.

      God save Nigeria from Nigerians.

  • TC

    They continue to plunder while they stoke north and south divide amongst the poor and illitrates(divide and conquer) and some fall for it forgetting poverty exist all over the land. Any right thinking human being should not be pleased with this news…..

  • Rommel

    Is this the uncommon transformation of Akwa Ibom under Godwill Akpaboi!

    • Julius

      Yes, while he can never finish spending the monies he had looted for the rest of his life . Thats Nigeria my broda.

    • lemmoR

      …If you were not as crooked and dumb as the sickler Bokohari and the useless Nigerian government then you should have asked yourself the simple question:
      ‘Why would Nigerian Government take action by sending soldiers to the Niger Delta when freedom fighters blow up oil installations BUT fail to take similar action to ensure that the people and the region receive adequate development? Can you mention any federal projects going on in the Niger Delta? Are there roads or rail constructions? Certainly not. But Lagos, Kano and Kaduna are all getting railways built with the oil money. The militants must respond and blow up ALL the installations. Pure & Simple!

      • Rommel

        There is ministry of the Niger delta,NDDC,13% derivation,state governor,senator,house of reps member,house of assembly member,local government chairman,councilor all being taken care of with public money to take care of these people,if all these cannot change things,then nothing ever will

  • I dey hear O

    “Up till today,
    BUHARI has not been able to convince Nigerians that he was able to pass
    school certificate. He has chosen to take the country on a judicial merry go
    round; putting the case on and off until his term expires, but the schools he
    attended are there, and if they could not attest that he passed his school
    certificate, I don’t know how he can confirm he passed it in a court of law.
    Frankly speaking, any leader who could be so mediocre as to fail his school
    certificate ought not to have been trusted by the people of Nigeria with such
    an awesome responsibility as that of the office of the President.”

    …………Dr. Junaid Muhamed

    (Kano state ex Legislator)

    • Julius

      This is what you get from this article ? Na Buhari school cert u dey blame for the misappropriating of the huge sum of monies meant for those communities ? Na wa ooo.

      • Du Covenant

        A very good question my broda. The problem in Nigeria is the dishonesty with which we look at our problems. How can any one blame Buhari for such local issues?. No blame whatsoever directed at the governor or local government chairmen etc. If not madness, just look at the wasted resources in that guest house when your fellow citizens are living in huts. No sensible leader takes such decisions apart from Nigerians, look at the life styles of our governors, they spend public funds as personal wealth, when governor general escaped from the clutches of the British, he received a red carpet welcome home, the president even pardoned him, recently Ibori was reportedly released from prison in the UK, there were celebrations etc….If the people we are supposed to drive out of our communities are celebrated, who do you blame?…

        • ?????????

          @ducovenant:disqus

          DO YOU NEED KNOWLEDGE OR NOT TO SOLVE LOCAL ISSUES OF POVERTY?

          HOW CAN BUHARI SOLVE THE LOCAL ISSUES OF POVERTY WITHOUT WASC/GCE?

        • Julius

          Yes, indeed. Meanwhile, their governors, ex-governors. local chairmen/women , leaders and the touts the politicians are using will never be able to finish spending the monies they stole for the rest of their lives which is usually within a 10 year period because there is no health facilities to treat their illnesses . No be so ?

    • thusspokez

      I bet that you were a crammer at school because only crammers use quotes out of context and not present their understanding of a subject matter in their own words. But I ask you too: Why do people like you make the habit of blaming the wrong people and letting off the real culprits and criminals? What is wrong with your thinking process?

  • Mama Kay

    These people need to hold their leaders accountable. Also, the FGN should have an auditing office to audit how states spend their allocations.

    However, that might not yield much difference because many people cannot resist the temptation of money, but it might make the leaders fear that one day, someone might audit their time in office.

    Why are the militants not protesting at the LG headquarters, constituency offices, governor’s offices instead of polluting their already polluted region?

  • Apostel

    As long as we choose and accept our degenerate criminal politicians, nothing will change.
    We prefer to kill people from another tribe than criticize our rotten politicians.

  • Dr Bassey

    Is it not sheer stupidity that a Nigerian newspaper will focus a so-called ‘Special Report’ on the alleged ineffectiveness of a state Governor who has spent barely 1 year against the backdrop that the evil colonial government in UK has just technically absolved economic migrant oil company (Shell BP) of blame in the oil spillages in the Niger Delta?

    Shouldn’t an article on the complicity and irresponsibility of the Nigerian Federal government and its partners in crime – The Environmental terrorists (Foreign oil companies) have been a most appropriate article at this time? But what we are given is a report on a state governor who has spent barely 365 days in office. It is continuation of the age long tactic of presenting the leaders of the Niger Delta as the problem. But the rest of the world must know that the people of the Niger Delta are wiser now. We speak the voice and ideology of the Niger Delta Avengers and to them we pledge our unalloyed support and infinite loyalty.

    Niger Delta Avengers, action please. Action!!!

  • FRANK

    Why should PT write a report that seems to put the blame on the state Governor? Why not put the blame on NNPC and Presidency? Aren’t they the ones who collect the money? If Nigeria at the federal level depends on the money from the Niger Delta shouldn’t it be its responsibility to ensure that that area is well of or at least environmentally healthy? I think the Editors of PT should go back to school. This report that hardly mentions the culpability of the Federal government and presidency in particular is completely nonsensical.

    • haba mallam

      That’s what I though, blame the presidency and Northern Nigeria especially, they are responsible despite the billions of dollars that these governors collected and are collecting from the 13% deprivation. You’re a burden on Nigeria I wish they just divide this country I dont want to live in the same country with you people. Just for once look at the way and manner these governors are spending peoples money in things that have no use to the people, they bought jets, helicopters, build mansions travel overseas maintaining militias etc etc and when something happen or get criticize its the presidency and NNPC.

    • thusspokez

      Why should PT write a report that seems to put the blame on the state Governor? Why not put the blame on NNPC and Presidency?

      Silly question. And I ask you too: Why do people like you always blame the wrong people and let off the real culprits and criminals? What is wrong with your thinking process, you Nigerians?

      • Shaun

        It’s ridiculous how much effort you put in to try to justify your resolve to absolve the Nigerian central government of culpability. As an American I recall how President Obama took it personal and vigorously engaged Shell BP in the Gulf of Mexico oil spillage that compares far less than the colossal spillages that we find in the littoral Nigerian Niger Delta.

        As a Journalist I visited Bodo (A community literarily devastated in an oil spill in December 2008) and almost 10 years after, Bodo looked very much the same. What has the Nigerian central government done at diplomatic circles to seek redress/compensation?

        President Obama did not have to wait for the Governors of the Southern states in the Gulf of Mexico ( Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas). Obama did not have to wait for Robert J. Bentley of Alabama, or Phil Bryant of Mississippi or any other Governor of the states of the Gulf of Mexico. He took on the oil Company and the UK government head on, and demanded a swift clean up and compensation and a threat of revocation of license should they falter. Guess what! Shell complied. Cleaned up, fired its boss, apologized and paid compensation. The drive came from Washington. Are you too young or old to remember?

        Your comments alluding responsibility and culpability to the Governors of the States of your Niger Delta on the basis of some allocations from oil revenue is not only crass but pedestrian. I believe Nigerians are smart but the politics is messy and opinions hardly apolitical. And I believe your comment is in that category.

        • thusspokez

          It’s ridiculous how much effort you put in to try to justify your resolve to absolve the Nigerian central government of culpability.

          Outright lies! I challenge you to show me passage(s) in any of my comments on this forum to prove your false allegation.

          The Oil-rich communities in Akwa Ibom takes the centre stage in this discussion. Now, the reason for a ‘topic of discourse’ in every discussion is so that it focuses the debate and the minds of debaters so that they don’t slip into ‘off topics’ or irrelevancies or indeed discus the World.

          The culpability of the Nigerian government has long been established and indeed indisputable (as Ken Saro Wiwa murder proved). Further, over the past three decades, I am sure that this culpability has been discussed a million times, But HERE, to show our respect for the ‘topic of discourse’, we should turn our focus to the welfare of the Eastern Obolo communities and the absence of even basic infrastructure

          These communities are the responsibilities of the (1) Obolo Local government, and (2) Akwa Ibom State government. Why then would anyone want to let them off from their constitutional responsibilities and instead, criticise the federal government — who according to the author:

          Between 2010 and 2016, federal records show that Eastern Obolo received N8.22 billion in allocation that sifts through the state monthly”

          Your comments alluding responsibility and culpability to the Governors of the States of your Niger Delta on the basis of some allocations from oil revenue is not only crass but pedestrian. I believe Nigerians are smart but the politics is messy and opinions hardly apolitical. And I believe your comment is in that category.

          And

          As an American

          You might well be a naturalised US citizen, but reading your response, I can’t see that the US have rubbed off on you, because your thinking process and style of response is quintessentially, Nigerian, there!

          (BTW The Deepwater Horizon spill of the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 was the second biggest spill (627,000 tons) in the World. The biggest was 1,230,000 tons in Lakeview Gusher, California in 1910. Without belittling any environmental damages and human sufferings of the Obodo communities, the total Shell Bodo spill was put at about 1000 tons. Similar amount of spills occurs frequently in the US, particularly in Louisiana, California but never make the headlines outside the respective states. Given the magnitude of the Deepwater Horizon spill — which is more than the combined total of spillages recorded in Nigeria in the past 2-3 decades — how can any US president fail to act?)

    • Tunsj

      Please stop blaming Premium Times. Reading through your comment, I can easily conclude that you hate the TRUTH. You also lost your argument when you stated that “Editors of PT should go back to school” The only person that needs to go back to school is YOU.

      • thusspokez

        when you stated that “Editors of PT should go back to school”

        This is very quintessential Nigerian. Whereever hear this, you can be 99% certain that the speaker is a Nigerian. But given the poor state of schools in Nigeria, you would think that most Nigerians would avoid telling anyone to go to school — as a barren woman would avoid calling another woman barren. But it would seem that these Nigerians have no shame or are deluded about the quality of their own education.

  • Oruka

    TOTAL and violently devastating sabotage of all oil pipelines by the Militants is the only way forward.

    • Dejandon

      That is called insanity. Go and hold your elected officials responsible for all the amount they have collected without result, you will gain more instead of causing environmental issues that such money Woukd have to be spent on for remedial works rather than building developments in the required places.
      You don’t spite your face by cutting g your nose. Get wise.

  • JasV

    That is what you get when you have thieves such as clark, late alamijagajaga, ibodi, wicked, devilswil, and other demons as your leaders. To make matters worse, the youths from that area have brains already cooked in ogogoro and instead of doing something useful for these impoverished communities, they will rather destroy the environment by bombing pipelines. What a pity for a cursed generation of ignorant (sc)avengers.

    • thusspokez

      That is what you get when you have thieves such as clark, late alamijagajaga, ibodi, wicked, devilswil, and other demons as your leaders.

      Stop being a first-class mumu. Why do people like you always blame the wrong people and let off the real culprits and criminals?

      The 2016 budget of Akwa Ibom state is 426 billion naira for a population of 5.451 million. But instead of directing your fire at the corrupt state government and governors you let them off and went for people who have nothing to do with the reported deplorable situation in Akwa Ibom. What is wrong with you?

  • thusspokez

    The former commissioner, Mr. Ikann, believes the solution to the poverty and the shameful neglect of the oil producing communities in Akwa Ibom lies in the 13 per cent oil derivation fund.

    “If the federal government pays 13 per cent derivation to oil producing states, is it not fair that the state, in turn, pays 13 per cent of the fund to the oil producing local government areas?

    Budget by States (Naira)

    1. Lagos state – 662.5 billion
    2. Akwa Ibom state – 426 billion; Population: 5.451 million (2016)
    3. Rivers state – 370 billion
    4. Cross River state 350 billion

    That is to say, 776 billion for what used to be the old Cross Rivers State.

    How much is enough? If 426 billion naira for a population of just 5.451 million can’t provide even school buildings with four walls and roof, my bet is that 426 trillion naira — indeed, not even 426 quadrillion naira — will be enough except make the state’s corrupt politicians and public servants richer.

  • thusspokez

    Excellent job, Cletus Ukpong and PT. More grease to your journalistic elbow!

    Critics bothering on personality disorder

    In 2016, the Akwa Ibom state budget was 426 billion naira — second highest only to Lagos state –, and yet the state can’t’ even provide school buildings with four walls and roof. Nevertheless. many posters here are blaming every body but the usual suspects, namely the Akwa Ibom state government and governor.

    What I find extremely difficult to understand about Nigerians is why they always blame the wrong people and let off the real culprits and criminals? What is wrong with their thinking process? This attitude, one could say, is bothering on personality disorder.

  • Champ

    Pathetic to say the least

  • GusO

    Corruption in Akwa Ibom and Rivers States is beyond the pale. The level of poverty in these villages whose pictures are shown are a disgrace to the corrupt politicians and administrative elite of these States. I never knew there were still villages in Southern Nigeria with such thatched wretched homes.

  • thusspokez

    To All Facebook Account Holders

    Use Information as tool for change. Help bring change to this long-suffering community by making Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel feel embarrassed ans ashamed.

    Preamble:
    To download these photos:
    (Assuming your are using google)

    1 Place your mouse on a photo
    2. Right-click your mouse to see the menu
    3. Click ‘Save ‘Image as… ‘ in the menu
    4. Save it on your disk and note the location and name of the (image) file
    5. Repeat step 1 for the next photo

    Now in your Facebook, upload the following photos and place them next to each other:

    1. The ‘Savile row’ suited Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel.
    2. Government Primary School, Isotoyo, Eastern Obolo.

    Now share with friends and encourage them to, in turn, share it with their own friends too.

  • Tunde

    What a mess! When are the governors going to be procecuted for the evil they have brought on the communities?

    • Otile

      What a mess! You can say that again, bro. The federal government has messed the people of Niger Delta up royally. Unbeknown to most people is that those thatch houses, dilapidated schools, abandoned structures are brought upon the people by various Federal governments of Nigeria. The bad situation has been in existence before the present state governors. Let it be known to every critic of the victims that these people were betrayed by the Federal government starting from 1968 or there about. Gowon sold their land to Cameroon just to hurt Igbo people, ever since then life has never been normal for these hapless people. Many of them are refugees both from Nigerian government and Cameroonians who know them betrayed Nigerians. Except Gen Abacha one hopeless federal government after another have forsaken the people. Day in day out Imam Buhari is borrowing money, erecting refugee camps in the North but turns deaf ears to the dispossessed of the Niger Delta. People should lay the blame squarely where it belongs.

      • zacchaeus Akinleye

        Your PDP was in power from 1999-2015 (16 years) You are reasoning like a chicken. Shame on you for being shamelessly dubious!

  • Dr Pat Kolawole Awosan

    The state governors, and past governors,of any oil producing states, in Nigeria,should be held fully responsible and be made to give full accountability of their stewards, serving their communities.Look at the rumour of a state governor of an oil rich Southern state, who collected Federal bail-out from president Muhammadu Buhari, in order to pay civil servants and pensioners in his state, but diverted S10m dollars of the bail-out and transfered it to his USA-base, girl-friend who in turn converted the stolen public funds to her own use against the governor,s wish.The state governor,s name is yet to be revealed by the press.Maybe it might be Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko,or Bayelsa State or Rivers State.

    • JUSTICE

      [Originally posted by @Shaun]

      It’s ridiculous how much effort you put in to try to justify your resolve to absolve the Nigerian central government of culpability. As an American I recall how President Obama took it personal and vigorously engaged Shell BP in the Gulf of Mexico oil spillage that compares far less than the colossal spillages that we find in the littoral Nigerian Niger Delta.

      As a Journalist I visited Bodo (A community literarily devastated in an oil spill in December 2008) and almost 10 years after, Bodo looked very much the same. What has the Nigerian central government done at diplomatic circles to seek redress/compensation?

      President Obama did not have to wait for the Governors of the Southern states in the Gulf of Mexico ( Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas). Obama did not have to wait for Robert J. Bentley of Alabama, or Phil Bryant of Mississippi or any other Governor of the states of the Gulf of Mexico. He took on the oil Company and the UK government head on, and demanded a swift clean up and compensation and a threat of revocation of license should they falter. Guess what! Shell complied. Cleaned up, fired its boss, apologized and paid compensation. The drive came from Washington. Are you too young or old to remember?

      Your comments alluding responsibility and culpability to the Governors of the States of your Niger Delta on the basis of some allocations from oil revenue is not only crass but pedestrian. I believe Nigerians are smart but the politics is messy and opinions hardly apolitical. And I believe your comment is in that category.

  • THE LAW

    Do we need any other reports so as to conclude as to why the rate of kidnappings and all otther sorts of heinous crime is most rampant in the Niger Delta region?

    • Otile

      Kidnappings, girl kidnapping, rape, suicide bombing, islamic terrorism, herdsmen beheading are all abundant in the North. What is happening in ND is child’s play compared to all sorts of heinous crimes in the North. Don’t you think so?

    • Olatunji S.

      Definitely not..

  • JUSTICE

    It’s ridiculous how much effort you put in to try to justify your resolve to absolve the Nigerian central government of culpability. As an American I recall how President Obama took it personal and vigorously engaged Shell BP in the Gulf of Mexico oil spillage that compares far less than the colossal spillages that we find in the littoral Nigerian Niger Delta.

    As a Journalist I visited Bodo (A community literary devastated in an oil spill in December 2008) and almost 10 years after, Bodo looked very much the same. What has the Nigerian central government done at diplomatic circles to seek redress/compensation?

    President Obama did not have to wait for the Governors of the Southern states in the Gulf of Mexico ( Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas). Obama did not have to wait for Robert J. Bentley of Alabama, or Phil Bryant of Mississippi or any other Governor of the states of the Gulf of Mexico. He took on the oil Company and the UK government head on, and demanded a swift clean up and compensation and a threat of revocation of license should they falter. Guess what! Shell complied. Cleaned up, fired its boss, apologized and paid compensation. The drive came from Washington. Are you too young or old to remember?

    Your comments alluding responsibility and culpability to the Governors of the States of your Niger Delta on the basis of some allocations from oil revenue is not only crass but pedestrian. I believe Nigerians are smart but the politics is messy and opinions hardly apolitical. And I believe your comment is in that category. ————- Posted by @Shaun

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  • Rev

    The international community including the US, Britain, France and Germany etc have brought so much misery on the land of Black people that only God can fully measure…!

    • Fred Duke

      No, the blacks hate themselves. It is the State that shd be blamed first. Then the leaders of the LGAs. And Fed govt last. The state govt makes sure that only their stooges and house helps are “appointed” or s”elected” as LGA chairmen. Then no matter how much FG sends to the states, they pay peanuts to the LG chairmen who see these as a fair share. And they pocket it and move on. The worst is that the FG takes no step to verify what is released and what have been done.

      Let’s ask ourselves, Akpabio used to throw around millions and millions of cash everywhere. From which source? Until corruption is addressed, these LGA will never leave where they are.

  • Fred Duke

    Blame the governors. It is the Governors of the oil producing communities that have put the Niger Delta in poverty. Not the FG. As long as the 13% derivation is released, the FG does not owe us anything. The oilboom of the 2007 to 2015 was wasted. As a Niger Deltan, I usually feel bad about the way our politicians useless or waste our resources. In Akwa Ibom State, there’s poverty everywhere. But Akpabio only developed Ukana where he hails from and the main LGAs that produce the oil where he got the money were left undeveloped, simply because that was not in his Senatorial district.

    Former Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo Iweala once said that Akpabio was supposed to be in jail because what he has done in Akwa ibom was nothing compared to the huge allocation he received. At a point, Akwa Ibom’s allocation alone was more than that of 5 states combined! You can now see why I would never clap for Akpabio. He’s a waster. A corrupt being. EFCC has vowed never to prosecute him for reasons best known to them. And this is where I really believe and conclude with fact that EFCC is also corrupt.

  • zacchaeus Akinleye

    The PDP has been in power in this state for ever and this is the result of the stupendous allocation to the Niger Delta. Noise-maker Akpabio is in the senate verbosing crap about what is wrong with the country and yet these communities shock every right-thinking Nigerian for its squalor. Shame on US! REPENT NIGERIA!!!

  • Dimka

    This is called Un-Common wickedness!

  • Dr Pat Kolawole Awosan

    With the incessant attacks and killing by the Niger Delta militants and terrorists, who command the full support of PDP-state governments and average citizens in the South-South region, Nigeria, can not rely on oil and gas revenues anymore to sustain its economy.Hence,Nigeria diversified and now relies on agricultural produce and natural resources instead of oil/gas revenues.
    Look at the squalor condition prevalent in the creeks that still militants continue to attack and kill oil/gas explorers in their region.With the huge allocations to the South-South region, by the Federal Government of Nigeria, which were constantly looted by their citizens, how would South-South region, ever develop.