The apex body of the Urhobo Nation, the Urhobo Progress Union, UPU, has called on the Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to site the national headquarters of the Gas Flare Trust Fund in Urhoboland.
This call was made by the UPU through a letter dated 12th August 2020, signed by its President-General, Olorogun Moses Taiga and channeled through the office of Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
In its request, the UPU noted that the Urhobos are entitled to the Headquarter as other states and ethnic nationalities have gotten what it described as “their fair share of federal government establishments.” In addition, it observed that based on its oil and gas production and land mass impact from gas flare and operational environmental degradation, the Urhobos should be the benefactor of the headquarters location.
The letter read in part: “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 North, Ughelli South, Utorogu, Effurun, Ward River and Orho 1 fields(in OML 34), Okwefe, Amukpe, Okporhuru, and Mosogar, Ovhor and Orhogho (in OML 38), Sapele, Ubaleme, Okoporo (Ugborhen/Ozue) fields (in OML 41), Matsogo field(in OML 56), Aroh, Okwefe , Deep and Oghareki Fields (in OML 49), et cetera.
The Urhobos are host to some of the largest gas fields, with the Ughelli East and Utorogun Gas fields being the largest gas plants in West Africa. It added that these fields are served by oil flowstations, pumping stations and the gas plants.
“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 nationality in Nigeria,” the letter read.
It added, “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 Commission- Niger Delta Development Commission – Port Harcourt(Rivers); Petroleum Trust Development Fund – Kaduna (Kaduna); Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project – Port Harcourt (Rivers); Nigerian Content Management Board Yenegua (Bayelsa) and National Petroleum Development Company – Benin- City (Edo).
While revealing its readiness to host the headquarters, the UPU wrote: “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.”