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By Samuel Udoma

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A former Commissioner for Environment and Petroleum Resources in the State, Barr. Ekong Sampson has thrown up a perspective to the opinion that suggests crude oil, dug majorly in the Niger Delta region belongs to Nigeria while the region bears the cruel brunt of oil pollution and other forms of attendant environmental degradation.

Dr Sampson gave the position over the weekend when he played host to the leadership of Etebi Group of Villages of Esit Eket Local Government Area who visited him to present a plaque to him after he was honoured by Etebi for his interest in the community, particularly during the successful burial of a distinguished son of the area, Senator Etang Umoyo, late last year.

Barr. Ekong Sampson was Chairman of the Media Subcommittee that handled the burial.

He also placed his facilities for use during preparations for the burial.

Addressing the team, Dr Sampson poured encomiums on the life and legacies of the late Senator Umoyo, whom he described as a ‘Cicero and a highly respected son of Ekid Nation and Akwa Ibom State’.

He commended the Umoyo dynasty and Etebi Community for their united, harmonious efforts in giving their patriarch a befitting burial.

‘Let me commend you and the entire Etebi kith and kin for the great honour you did your illustrious son. You demonstrated great fellowship for the success of the burial.

To the members of the Media Subcommittee, which I chaired, I thank you for putting in good work. This is indeed, a recognition for all of us’, he added.

Also read: Ekong Sampson A Great Pillar

Barr. Sampson further used the opportunity to weigh in on the issue of resource control and restructuring, which have been on the front burner in recent times, a cause also championed by the late Senator Umoyo.

Recall that recently, former President, Olusegun Obasanjo in response to elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark had said that oil belongs to Nigeria while maintaining silence on the fate of the Niger Delta. Obasanjo was president when the onshore-offshore dichotomy controversy raged in the country.

But illuminating a perspective, Barr. Sampson cautioned that ‘it must never be heard that oil belongs to Nigeria while oil pollution belongs to the Niger Delta’.

Barr. Sampson also said that ‘oil industry legislation like the Petroleum Industry Act must be framed and implemented in a manner that guarantees access to opportunity and succour to affected communities’.

He added that deploying divide and rule tactics in industry politics was unhelpful to any meaningful collaboration.

As has always been his steadfast point of view, Barr. Sampson believes the nation must practice true federalism where ‘each region is allowed to control and manage its resources with a quota contributed to the central government’. That, according to him, remained the one sure way the rich resource base in constituent units of the nation can be fully maximized.

Dr Sampson, fondly known as the Onomkpoinam Mkpat Enin equally used his speech moment to admonish Eket Senatorial District to remain ever united in purpose and not be divided along the lines of oil politics and other natural resources.

He reaffirmed his support for the Etebi educational scholarship scheme while lauding them for their commitment to education which he said fully connects with his well known interest in education support.

Earlier in his speech, the leader of the delegation and Rector of Heritage Polytechnic, Eket, Sir Udoyiu Udoyiu praised Barr. Sampson’s commitment to bridge building across boards especially in Eket Senatorial District.

He said the delegation came to say a thank you to Barr. Sampson for his great support and contribution to the burial of their departed leader, Senator Umoyo adding that the Etebi Group of Villages appreciated his gestures and benevolent personality. Sir Udoyiu further said that the Ekid people will continue to nourish the friendship between them and Barr. Sampson.

Also on the Etebi delegation were Evangelist Isangedighi Umossan, Chairman, Etebi Group of Villages and Hon. Imo Jonah, Director of Finance, Etebi Group of Villages.

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