For over the decades,the people of Ankpa federal Constituency of kogi state was bedevilled with high-handedness both from federal government,state and private investors over their natural mineral resources with coal being a major deposit in many parts of the area.
This neglect spanned through the military administration,civilian regimes without concerted efforts by governments, stakeholders to come to the aid of indigenes, through either government intervention or Corporate Social Responsibility CSR by public and private entity, as well as well placed and influential individuals in the society.
It is on record that the Eastern region,South- East geo-political zone and South- South were developed with the concentrated coal deposits in Ankpa federal Constituency, mainly in Okaba,Odagbo and it’s environs.
The many decades neglects that had turned the Eastern part of the country to home away from home,still left the original inhabitants of the mineral resources with lack of portable water, dearth good and motorable roads,no clinics or hospital,no befitting classrooms from primary, secondary and other special projects ,as well as adequate compensation.
Aside provision of social services,many of the communities were left overtime with varying degrees of hazards against the people rather the glory and benefits attracted by other mineral producing areas in Nigeria.
Highly placed public officials both at the local ,state and federal government saw nothing good at improving the welfare of the people of this vulnerable areas,or attract government attention ,even though,efforts may be made without results.
This development that had left the people of Ankpa federal Constituency pauper for years, resumed over the years without efforts to rehabilitate the victims of all round of neglects,this time around with a wholly private sector divestment under the supervision of the federal government.
With lackadaisical attitudes from people’s representatives at all levels that had graduated to connivance between the companies and top government officials, the federal lawmaker, representing the area, Rt. Honourable Abdullahi Ibrahim Ali has taking the bull by the horn through demands for compensation and all round development of the areas prone to mineral exploration.
The major explorers of Ankpa Federal Constituency namely Dangote conglomerate and Zuma that had deliberately abandoned the communities were giving a marching order to initiate major social intervention while appealing to government to also initiate policies and programs that will mitigate the critical conditions of the people were minerals are being extracted.
Halims exclaimed that the volume of damage, social decadence,economic downturn created by the exploration in recent time is unquantifiable and beyond the reach of a federal lawmaker, whose constituency projects is spread across the three local government areas of Omala, Ankpa and Olamaboro local government area of Kogi state.
He advocated special funds a the same time special attention to mineral producing areas like Ankpa federal Constituency particularly as the raw materials of coal excavation from the area are being used as finished products to many export commodities.
This decision and campaign embarked upon my Rt Honourable Abdullahi Ibrahim Ali is patriotic and statesmanly,coming at a time the world is passing through series of health hazards of Covid-19, economic recession that had eaten up to the crescendo.
The settlers and indigenes are predominantly subsistent farmers and engaged in self sustenance business like small and medium scale businesses,and should be encouraged through government efforts in that regard.
This will reduce poverty , ameliorate hardship and critical living conditions among them and by extension other communities.
The provision of portable water,light, hospital, good roads and other life touching activities cannot be overemphasized,as both public and private organisations are expected to contribute their quota in their own way to give the ruralites a sense of belonging.
Rt. Honourable Abdullahi Ibrahim Ali Halims has taking the lead both in action and awareness,all hands must be on deck to rescue the people of Okaba, Odagbo and it’s environs from environmental hazards and degradation not only through creating social safety nets,but providing outlets of engagements and employments to the populace.
Abubakar Yusuf,Is A Journalist, Writes From Abuja.