Kogi Senators Kick Against Siting Refinery In Itobe

Source: EMMA UCHE - thewillnigeria.com
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ABUJA, July 11, (THEWILL) - Senators Smart Adeyemi (PDP, Kogi) and Otaru Ohize (PDP, Kogi) have accused the State Governor, Ibrahim Idris of fanning the ember of disunity and deliberate attempt to marginalize the other two Senatorial Districts in the state when he decided to site planned Federal Government refinery in Itobe, Ofu Local Government Area of the state.

Accordingly, the two Senators appealed to the presidency to wade into the issue and reverse the decision to avert a possible backlash that would create disharmony in the state.

Both Senators informed at a press conference in Abuja at the weekend that; "What Governor Idris has done is most uncharitable, it negates the spirit of democracy, it negates the concept of Federal Government in siting that project where they have decided to site it."

Senator Adeyemi, recalled that the Federal Government in conjunction with some Chinese investors had agreed to build three refineries in Nigeria and one of the refineries he stated is to be built in Kogi State for which the government chose to site the refinery in Lokoja, Kogi West Senatorial District along Ajaokuta Steel Company road in Kogi Central Senatorial district.

He further disclosed that the report received from the body which was set up by the Federal Government and the investors, suggested that the refinery be sited in a place not too far from the growing Federal Capital Territory and Geregu Power Station in order to guarantee regular power supply to the refinery.

"Also as it is expected, a rail line would connect Ajaokuta and the Federal Capital Territory in the very near future, it would be easy to move products out of the Refinery particularly to Abuja and Lokoja, the state’s capital.

"In line with this development, discussions have already started on the need to build the Refinery close to Ajaokuta, since the place is serviced with a rail line which is used to feed the Ajaokuta Steel Company.

"It is rather unfortunate to note that as this effort is going on, the Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris on July 8, 2010, granted a Certificate of Occupancy on a vast area of land in Itobe, Ofu Local Government Area of the State, for the building of the Refinery. He equally took the investors to the place for inspection. Of all the considerations for the location of the Refinery, including nearness to rail lines, none is available in Itobe.

"The decision of the Governor in the location of the proposed Refinery is a further attempt to marginalize the two other Senatorial Districts: West and Central of the State.

"We want to recall here that when the establishment of Kogi State University was conceived, it was planned to be located in Kogi West Senatorial District but Alhaji Abubakar Audu in 1999, took the University to Anyigba in Dekina Local Government Area, in Kogi East Senatorial District of the State. Even when it was decided that the College of Medicine of the University be sited in Kogi West, the College was retained in Anyigba and a substantial sum of money has been released for its take off.

"In the face of all these, the people of Kogi West and Central have remained calm, hoping that further opportunities would benefit them.

"We want to say that what the Governor has done in taking the proposed Refinery to his Senatorial District, is to further polarize the people of the three Senatorial Districts and cause a serious disaffection between the various ethnic groups in the State.

"In Kogi State, we are in a period in which the people of the state are trying to unite for their common good and we cannot afford to do anything that would disrupt the existing peace in the State.

"We want to say that the tactical removal of the project from its original site is a calculated attempt to polarize the people of the State. The people of Kogi West and Kogi Central Senatorial Districts are therefore, condemning in very strong terms, the attempt by the Governor to site the Refinery in his own Senatorial District.

"We hereby call on the Federal Government to halt the move by the Governor to site the refinery in his own Senatorial District as this development is capable of causing disharmony among the people of the State.

"We are calling on the Governor to concentrate on executing projects that will improve the standard of living of the people of the state instead of embarking on policies and programmes that are capable of causing disaffection amongst the good people of Kogi State.

"We also want to call on him to rise above ethnic sentiments and act like a statesman and a father to all in the state", they declared.