Yesterday’s Town Hall meeting organized in Akwa Ibom State by the Federal Government to meet the people and explain the policies and programmes of the government ended up on a sore note as youths of the PDP and APC engaged in shouting down ministers, particularly the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma.
During the question sessions, some persons asked questions on the plans of the federal government to rebuild the Niger Delta, restructure the country and improve the economy.
While Udo Udoma stood up to answer, there was shouting and booing which made it impossible for him to speak.
The youths accused APC government of under developing the South South from which it gets revenue to run the country.
They maintained that in the budget which Udo Udoma superintends over the North East has more money and projects than the South-South and South East put together.
Udo Udoma’s defence however was that it is not true adding that if the president were selfish he will not appoint an Akwa Ibom person as Minister of Budget because he did not win election in the state.
He vowed that they would not be in the cabinet and support decisions that won’t favour the Niger Delta.
Several people started leaving the hall for fear of being hurt because the youths of PDP and APC turned the meeting to be violent.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, has clarified that President Muhammadu Buhari has not allocated oil blocs to any individual since he came into office. The minister made the clarification yesterday in Uyo at the South-South region Town Hall Meeting organised by the Ministry of Information and Culture. The minister who was responding to questions by some aggrieved participants from the region over alleged un-equitable distribution of oil blocs, said that the Federal Government would be fair and just in giving out such advantages. “Since we came into office, the government has not allocated any oil bloc. “The president has said that he will need to correct the mess created by the past administrations before we begin to think of giving out such advantages. “The president has emphasised to us, the ministers that there should be no unjustifiable favour and any action we take we must be able to defend it. “When the time for the oil bloc allocation comes, it will follow very clear due process,” he said. Kachikwu stressed that he was one of those who believed that the South-South people should benefit from oil blocs because it would be part of “giving back to the chicken that laid the eggs.” He said it would go a long way to empower the people and make them to engage in genuine oil deals, rather than being contractors to oil companies. The minister, however, reiterated that when government wants to consider the allocation, it would be given to those who have skills and the finance to develop the blocs. Kachikwu said that the Federal Government had finalised the Integrated Power Project with Mobil Oil Company that would produce 500 megawatts of power as well as gas pipeline project in Akwa Ibom. He said the total investment for the project, including provision of infrastructure in the area of locations, was seven billion dollar. The minister promised that the Federal Government would locate oil depots and modular refineries in the state through private capital intervention. In addressing the challenges of militancy in the region, Kachikwu said he had reached out to the Niger Delta Avengers for a truce with the Federal Government to end destruction to oil installations. He said the activity of the militants blowing up oil installations was affecting the economy and government would use all means possible to end it. Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who was also at the Town Hall Meeting, assured that the Federal Government would deliver on the developmental projects it promised Nigerians. According to him, “it is time to end the blame game and move forward to concentrate on the delivery of democracy dividends.” He said government would deliver the Calabar to Lagos coastal rail line project, the Calabar to Porth Harcourt, and Lagos to Kano rail projects to ease movement of people and goods. Responding to an allegation from a member of the audience, Amaechi said he did not influence the appointment of the Director-General of Niger Delta Development Commission, Mrs Ibim Seminitari. He said the insinuation that he lobbied the president to take the position from an indigene of Akwa Ibom for Seminitari in negation of zoning arrangement was wrong. The minister said that the president had noted the zoning arrangement and correction would be made. Amaechi also said that government was in the process of restructuring NIMASA in order to reposition it to deliver on its statutory mandate.