By Ovie Okpare
The apex socio-cultural umbrella body of the Urhobo people worldwide, Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) has appealed to the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to site the national headquarters of the Nigerian Gas Flare Trust Fund in Urhoboland in Delta State.
UPU said the head office should be sited in Urhoboland considering its huge gas production and impact flare over the years on her people.
In a letter addressed to President Buhari through the Secretary to the Government of the Federal, Boss Mustapha, by the President General of UPU worldwide, Olorogun Moses Taiga noted that Urhobo Nation had already provided facilities for its take-off.
Olorogun Taiga in the letter also copied to the Chief of Staff to President Buhari, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari and the chairman, Board of Trustees of HOSTCON, HRM Diette Spiff, lamented that Delta remains the only state where federal agency on oil and gas had not been sited.
The letter disclosed that in demonstration of Urhobo people’s interest to play host to the national headquarters of the agency, it had already earmarked land for the construction of the head office, should the already provided facilities were not enough.
A copy of the letter obtained by NIGER DELTA TODAY (NDT) Online on Wednesday, UPU reminded the Federal Government that Urhobo Nation plays host to several oil and gas assets including the multi billion dollars Utorogu Gas Plant which is the biggest in West Africa.
It read, “The main purpose of this letter is the request of the Urhobo people to the Federal Government of Nigeria to site the National Headquarters of the Gas Flare Trust Fund in our Land.
“We support our request with the following reasons; the Urhobo Ethnic Nationality has been a host to major oil and gas assets since the discovery of petroleum in Nigeria producing oil and gas from – Afiesere, Eriemu, Osioka, Evwreni and Oroni fields (in OML 30); Ughelli, Ughelli East, Utorogu, Effurun, Warri River and Orho 1 fields (in OML 34), Okwefe, Amukpe, Okporhuru, and Mosogar, Ovhor and Orhogho (in OML 38); Sapele, Ubaleme, Okoporo fields (in OML49); Matsogo field (in OML 56); Aroh, Okwefe, Deep and Oghareki Fields (in OML49), et cetera.
“The Urhobos are also host to some of the largest gas fields both producing and not produced with the Ughelli East and Utorogu Gas fields being the largest of all. These respectively have the Ughelli East gas plant and Utorogu Gas Plant, the largest gas plant in West Africa.
“These fields enumerated in (1) above are served by flow stations, pumping stations and the gas plants mentioned in (2) above. These are all sources of gas and other pollutants emissions. To be candid Sir, the Urhobo people and their environs, being upland and swamp, I venture to say had more than enough share of gas flares than any other ethnic nationality in Nigeria.”
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UPU President further added in the letter that, “Sir, to further justify our request for locating the National Headquarters of the Gas Flare Trust Fund in our land, we took a cursory look at the oil and gas development agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria for oil and gas producing area and imparted communities and locations of their headquarters.
“Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) – Port Harcourt (Rivers State), Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF) – (Kaduna State), Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HPRP) – Rivers State, Nigerian Local Content management Board – Yenagoa (Bayelsa State) and National Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) – Benin (Edo State).
“Sir, from the above, it is clear our land is entitled to the Headquarter, other states and ethnic nationalities have gotten their fare share of Federal Government establishments. In addition, based on our oil and gas production and land mass impact from gas flare and operational environmental degradation, we should be the benefactor of this headquarters location.
“Finally Sir, we already have existing facilities in Warri environ for the take-off activities of the National Headquarters of the Gas Flare Trust Fund. In addition, we have also earmarked a large land mass for construction if new facilities need to be built.”