By Linda Ifeachor & Mercy James
Indigenes of the Ibaji community, recently named oil producing area by the federal government in Kogi state, have called for a share of their host community fund and 13 per cent derivatives.
The Ibaji Unity Forum (IUF) decried poor roads among other infrastructure decay as well as the devastating effects of the recent flooding that it said, destroyed about 200 houses and killed 33 persons.
Speaking on Wednesday at a press briefing in Abuja, the president of the forum, Stephen Ochola, said Ibaji has become an oil-producing area after over 70 years of exploration.
He however regretted that the proceeds of the oil will be shared with Kogi and neighbouring Anambra state. Ochola noted that Ibaji needs to benefit significantly from the host community development fund as both states have been proclaimed as oil-producing states.
“Both states are to partake in the 13 per cent derivation fund. Also, the states are to share the proceeds on a 50-50 basis from the oil wells namely Anambra River 1, 2 and 3, which are clearly on Kogi soil,” he noted.
Ochola said the Ibaji Local Government Area of Kogi state has been neglected for so long as its over 129,000 population lack social amenities.
“The 2022 flood and its effects have downgraded that of 2012 to a child’s play. According to reports, over 33 persons have lost their lives and 200 houses were destroyed leading to the displacement of our people to relocate to Idah, Igalamela, Enugu, Anambra and Edo states.”
He also said the flood water is only the water available to the people even when it is unfit for bathing and drinking, according to a test result from the Federal Capital Territory Waterboard.
“Our people are in serious poverty due to the flood and its post effect. Even those who died of natural causes have no place to be buried because of the flood,” noting that Ibaji was the most devastated of the nine affected LGAs in Kogi state.