|Urhobo Historical Society
Request for the Creation of an Urhobo State
Presented to the Senate Committee on Review of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution
Port-Harcourt, Tuesday, 15th December, 2009
By Olorogun Senator Felix O. Ibru
President-General, Urhobo Progress Union (UPU)
Permit me to begin my contribution with an expression of support and solidarity with other ethnic nationalities, civil society organisations and human right groups in the Niger Delta for their commitment and sacrifice in the pursuit of political and socio-economic justice in the region.
The Urhobo people view the Niger Delta Crises from two broad angles: political and socio/economic. The political aspect is commonly referred to as “constitutional crises” or the “crises of federalism”. The socio/economic aspect of the Niger Delta crisis is associated with pervasive poverty, loss of means of livelihood and lack of basic infrastructure required for meaningful development in the region. It is interesting that the current determination to “bring development” to the Niger Delta coincides with national agitation for a constitution review. I wish to present the Urhobo position as follows:
REPEAL OF ALL OBNOXIOUS LAWS
call for the repeal of all obnoxious laws
which have contributed to the subjugation and exploitation of the
and Niger Deltans. Among these are:
1. The Petroleum Decree of 1969, which dispossessed the Niger Deltans of their God-given resources.
2. The Territorial Waters Acts, Cap.428, (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990) which seized water resources of the Niger Delta.
3. The Exclusive Economic Zone Act, Cap 116 (LFN, 1990)
4. The Land Use Act Cap. 220 (LFN, 1990)
5. The Revenue Allocation Act Cap. 16.
6. The Oil Navigable Act Cap. 337.
7. The Oil Terminal Dues Act Cap. 339.
8. Petroleum Production and Distribution Anti-Sabotage Act. Cap. 3354 Oil Pipeline Act Cap. 338.
9. Associated Gas Re-Injection Act Cap. 26.
10. National Inland Waterways Authority Act.
11. Petroleum Profit Tax Act Cap. 354.
12. Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission Act Cap. 392.
13. Minerals and Mining Act No. 34, 1999.
14. Lands (Title Vesting, etc) Act
We advocate a return to
Federalism Principle (ownership and control of resources by states),
the Revenue Allocation Principle in the 1960-63
The restoration of fiscal federalism must include the repeal of section 44 (3) of the 1999 Constitution which provides that: “Notwithstanding the foregoing provision of this section, the entire property in and control of all minerals, mineral oils and natural gas in, under or upon any land in Nigeria or in, under or upon the territorial waters and the Exclusive Economic Zone of Nigeria shall vest in the Government of the Federation and shall be managed in such manner as may be prescribed by the National Assembly.”
We call for the creation
states in Nigeria, especially where such an exercise will promote the
and development of the nation. Such states should definitely include an
The Proposed Urhobo state
rivers with access to the
The proposed Urhobo state
Petroleum refinery and Petro-chemical plant, one steel plant, one Salt
Plant and various industrial clusters.
It has about 15 urban centres, 60 bank branches, 3 universities,
Polytechnics and 2 Colleges of Education. It also has over 1000
Primary and Secondary Schools and well over 2000 Churches, Mosques and
Urhobo Natural Resources as Bases for Industrial Development
Urhobo territory hosts numerous oil wells in 15 oil fields. Thirteen (13) of the fields are operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), while Pan Ocean Oil Corporation and Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) operate one field each. The fields are: Ughelli North L.G.A. (Afiesere fields, Eriemu, Evwreni, UQCC), Ughelli South L.G.A. (Utorogu Fields, Osioka, Ughelli East and Ughelli West, Urhoka in Oviri-Olomu), Ethiope West L.G.A. (Ovadje in Oghara, Oben in Sapele), Ethiope East L.G.A. (Erhobaro – Orogun, Erhoike-Kokori), Udu L.G.A. (Abura Field 1 and 2) and Okpe L.G.A. (Akpobome Field). The oil produced in the proposed Urhobo state is sulphur-free (sweet crude oil). It is a premium crude oil recognized as the best crude oil in the international oil market.
Urhoboland is one of the
producers of Natural Gas in the Western Niger Delta.
The establishment of major gas-based
industries in Urhoboland attests to the abundance of natural gas
the area. The gas-based facilities include the following:
A. Otorogu Gas Plant, Otu-Jeremi
As stated earlier, this is
largest gas-processing plant in Sub-Saharan Africa.
It processes Natural Gas for the Utorogu-Escavos-Lagos
gas pipeline, the Egbin
Thermal Station in Ikorodu, the Shagamu
Cement Factory, Industrial Estates in Ikeja,
Ogba and Ilupeju
B. Delta Power Station (I – IV) Ughelli
This is the first
electricity station in South-Western Nigeria.
Commissioned in 1966, the station supplies electricity to
C. Ogorode Power Station, Sapele
The Ogorode Power Station which was commissioned in 1978 feeds major Nigerian cities and large scale electricity consumers via the National grid. Electricity supply from the station was stepped down for consumers in Sapele and environs only in 2007.
Rivers And Waterways:
Urhobo territory is home
and streams which have endured from primeval times.
The rivers are
The rivers are a treasure-trove of fishes, shrimps, prawns, periwinkles etc, which can sustain a booming fish industry. Apart from being a means of transportation, the rivers and waterways are also a source of water supply. Their aquatic splendour constitutes potential landmarks for tourism.
Urhoboland is endowed with large deposits of clay, sharp sand, silica and drilling mud which can be found in Otor-Edo, Ughevwughe, Esaba-Otutuama, Iwhreogun, and most areas of Ughelli South. These deposits are raw materials for Wall Tiles, Roof Tiles, Floor Tiles, Ceramics, Pottery and Road Construction.
Urhobo is endowed with a
land of about 4000 sq km. This land is
suitable for the cultivation of Cassava, Oil Palm, Raffia Palm, Rice,
Banana, Yam, Sweet Potato, Beans, Groundnuts, Coconut, Coco-yam,
The Oil Palm industry in the proposed Urhobo State has potentials for dozens of agro-industrial products and the employment of thousands of people. The Oil Palm industry was the bedrock of Urhobo economy for over 150 years before the advent of petroleum.
Rubber thrives in the
state. There are numerous rubber
plantations owned by private individuals in most communities and a
plantation owned by PAMOL (a division of UAC) at Oghara.
The proposed Urhobo state is situated in the tropical rain forest. There is an abundance of trees for lumber and wood based industries. The African Timber and Plywood (AT&P) factory located in Sapele in Urhoboland was the largest hardwood factory in the world.
Raphia hookeri and vinifera thrive very well in Urhobo area. The industrial products from raffia palm include Gin, Beverages, Yeast, Paper, Brushes, Bags, Sieves, Medicinal Oils and Balms. The raffia palm is also used for Ethanol and Bio-fuel production.
Cassava is cultivated all over the proposed Urhobo State. Cassava-based Industry encompasses the following: Garri Grains, Edible Starch, Industrial Starch for the manufacture of car Batteries, Textiles, Coating for Drugs and Pharmaceutical Products, Plaster of Paris, Paper, Cassava Chips/Pellets, Animal Feeds, Bread and Biscuits, Cassava leaves for export, etc.
With the extensive Waterways and Wetlands, Urhoboland is a natural habitat of fishes. Studies have identified over 100 species of fishes in this part of the Niger Delta. There are great potentials for a fishing industry including aquaculture that will create jobs and wealth for thousands of people in the proposed state.
Urhobo is the epicenter of
transportation network in the Western Niger Delta.
The proposed Urhobo State will consist of contiguous Urhobo kingdoms which comprise homogeneous communities with common cultural and traditional values.
Over the years, the Urhobo
have contributed significantly to the progress of the country in terms
personnel resources, business, industry, politics, education etc. The
people strongly desire a state of their own in order to harness and
their collective energies and resources to the benefit of the Nation. The creation of an
The Urhobo people request that an
Senator Felix O. Ibru
UPU Committee on State Creation
Olorogun Senator Felix O. IbruPresident-General