Jonathan, in Warri, explains delay of gas city
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan at the weekend explained the circumstances surrounding the aborted ground breaking for the Delta Gas City project and the Export Free Zone (EPZ).
During the visit, he had a private audience with the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, and in company with the Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, paid a courtesy call on the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse II.
Jonathan, who breezed into Warri, told the Olu of Warri in the presence of his Chiefs that he had to put off the ground breaking because of the fear of outbreak of violence.
The President said it was not put off because he was afraid anything was going to happen to him but that as a son of the Niger–Delta he is aware that he can move freely in the zone without molestation.
He said that it would not be possible to do the ground breaking before the elections because the investors have to be around for the ceremony, as the companies have to be given enough notice.
Jonathan mandated Uduaghan to work closely with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Presidency to get a suitable date before May 29 2015.
A statement at the weekend in Asaba by the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Chike Ogeah said that he Delta State Government expresses appreciation over the president’s personal visit to the Olu, which gave him the opportunity to explain to the royal father and the Itsekiri people issues around the ground breaking ceremony of the project.
Ogeah said, “The state government is also appreciative of the Olu’s understanding of Mr. President’s explanation and commitment to the project.”
Also, former militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo, who was said to have urged President Jonathan not to flag off the project until the Ijaws in the project neighbourhood are carried along, had equally held meetings with Itsekiri leaders and youth leaders to resolve the issue amicably, The Guardian learnt.
The President, it was gathered, urged the Olu to reach out to his subjects and pacify them. The President, according to reports also assured the monarch that government would not relocate the project to another Niger Delta state as report in the media just as he solicited for the Olu’s support in the forth coming presidential election.