The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo has expressed his regrets that oil has become a curse or burden to communities in the oil-rich Niger Delta region.
He said this was despite that over 50% of the nation’s non-oil revenues was determined by oil.
Osinbajo said this on Friday at a town hall meeting he had with stakeholders in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State in continuation of the Federal Government’s consultation with oil-producing communities in the country.
A copy of his speech was made available to journalists in Abuja by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande.
Osinbajo recalled that it was in Oloibiri in the state that the history of oil exploration in Nigeria began and source of the nation’s wealth was discovered.
He noted that oil became the source of 70% of our national earnings and 90% of our foreign exchange earnings.
He said, “Over 50% of non-oil revenues is determined by oil revenues. But for the people of historic Oloibiri and the many oil-producing communities in this state and the Delta region of Nigeria, the blessing of oil paradoxically became a curse or at best a burden.
“Their means of livelihood, fishing and farming has consistently been destroyed by pollution.
“Worse still, huge resources earned over the years have simply disappeared.
“The roads, schools, hospitals and social amenities that the oil wealth should have provided are either not there or are patently inadequate.
“The majority of people of these communities and several parts of the oil-producing states have heard of the wealth that oil has brought but have hardly benefited from it.”
Osinbajo said he was in the state on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari to propose a new vision and to signpost a new era to the people of the oil-producing communities.