President Goodluck Jonathan has assured the people of Delta State that the ground-breaking ceremony of the Delta Gas City project and the Export Free Zone (EPZ), will be performed before the end of this present administration, even as he alluded to uncertain security signals as reason for aborting the earlier scheduled ceremony.
This disclosure, which was contained in a Press statement issued by Delta State Information Commissioner, Barr. Chike Ogeah, equally confirmed that the assurance was given by President Jonathan himself, when he paid an unscheduled visit to Warri, Delta State, on Friday, 23rd January, 2015.
According to the statement, President Jonathan, during the visit, had a private audience with the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor and in company of the Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, paid a courtesy call on the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse II, where he took the opportunity of the visit to explain the circumstances surrounding the aborted ground breaking for the Delta Gas City project and the Export Free Zone (EPZ).
“Mr. President explained to the Olu in the presence of his Chiefs, that he had to put off the ground breaking because of the fear of outbreak of violence after the ceremony which would have frightened investors. Mr. President said it was not put off because he was afraid anything was going to happen to him. As a son of the Niger – Delta, he said he is aware that he can move freely in the zone without molestation”, the statement said.
President Jonathan, while addressing the issue on a new date for the ceremony, 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 and these are companies that have to be given enough notice. He therefore mandated the Delta State Governor to work closely with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Presidency to get a suitable date before 29th May, 2015.
Barr. Ogeah further noted in the statement that, “The Delta State Government appreciates Mr. President’s personal visit to the Olu of Warri, which has given him the opportunity to explain to the royal father and the Itsekiri people issues around the ground breaking ceremony of the project. The State Government is also appreciative of the Olu’s understanding of Mr. President’s explanation and commitment to the project.
“Finally, the State Government is appealing to groups and individuals to desist from politicizing the ground breaking ceremony. We join Mr. President in our commitment to the success of the project”, the statement concluded.