By Etuka Sunday with agency report
President Goodluck Jonathan, at the weekend, clarified the delay of the ground breaking ceremony of the $16 billion Delta Gas City and Export processing zone, saying it was due to fear of stoking fresh violence in the Niger-Delta region and frightening off potential investors.
Speaking when he paid a courtesy call on the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse II, in the company of Governor Emmanuel Dr. Uduaghan of Delta State, the President said the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Presidency and other relevant stakeholders had been mandated to get a suitable date before May 29, 2015 for the exercise.
He pointed out that it would not be possible to do the ground breaking before the elections because the investors have to be around for the ceremony, stressing that these were companies that have to be given enough notice.
Mr. President told the Olu that he had to put off the ground breaking ceremony because of the fear of outbreak of violence after the ceremony which would have frightened investors.
Jonathan said the decision was borne not out of fear that anything was going to happen to him. He said a son of the Niger – Delta, he could move freely in the zone without molestation.
Dr. Jonathan also met with the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor.
Governor Uduaghan on his part commended Mr President’s personal visit to the Olu which has afforded him the opportunity to explain to the Monarch and the Itsekiri people the issues surrounding the ground breaking ceremony of the project.
Uduaghan also expressed appreciation to the Olu on his understanding of Mr. President’s explanation and commitment to the project.
He appealed to groups and individuals to desist from politicizing the ground breaking ceremony, adding “We join Mr. President in our commitment to the success of the project”. (NAN)