The president Muhammadu Buhari’s telephone call disrupted Osinbajo’s meeting with Niger Delta stakeholders for about 35 minutes.
Osinbajo was in Edo, as part of his tour of the Niger Delta.
Details of the telephone conversation between Buhari and Osinbajo were, however, not made public.
Meanwhile, the acting president has ordered contractors handling projects awarded by the management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to return to site and complete their projects or face sanctions.
Osinbajo gave the marching order during a stakeholders’ meeting held at Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia College, Benin, when he visited the state yesterday.
He said an audit body would be set up to look into the contracts awarded by the commission and the monies spent on the projects with a view of bringing the overall spendings before the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for necessary action.
The acting president assured Nigerians that the Federal Government’s new era and vision, aimed at developing the oil-bearing communities and other areas will boost development, unity and peaceful co-existence of all segments of the country.
He noted how people in oil-bearing communities and other key productive sectors of the economy across the country have suffered untold neglect and development due to the insensitivity, stealing spree and corrupt activities of leaders and politicians entrusted with positions of trust.
Regardless, aggrieved elders, leaders and youths from oil and gas-producing community and other Ijaw communities of the state staged a protest, midway into the discussions, over failure of the organisers to allow them make presentations at the event.
They vowed to make oil prospecting activities hard for multinational firms if their communities are not given due attention in the scheme of things and failure of the acting president’s team to visit the oil-bearing communities “to see things the way they are.”
It took the intervention of key stakeholders and Governor Godwin Obaseki, his deputy, Philip Shuaibu and pleas from the acting president to douse the tension.
Dispelling fears of any form of insecurity and violence among communities in the state, Osinbajo said as an “emissary of president Buhari, the visit was aimed at engaging the people and the leadership to seek for better understanding as well as offer the oil communities a new vision and a new compass.”
He said the story of devastation remains the same across the country as farmers and fishing communities daily miss their means of livelihood while many were deprived in the process.
“We are committed to every one of the things we say we want to do; it does not make sense for leadership to look away at the plight of the people, especially in the oil-producing areas. This is the source of the wealth of the nation and to ignore the people, even if it is for a while; the time will come when you can no longer ignore them. So, there is no question at all that we are committed to doing what we said we would do and that is a pledge coming directly from Mr. President himself.”
On his part, governor Obaseki disclosed the state has 38 oil communities and 205 flowing oil wells.
He said just like other oil-producing communities in the Niger Delta, Edo oil communities have had their share of neglect, and added that several projects embarked upon by the federal government in the areas have yielded no results, due to corruption and ineptitude and lack of capacity.
Obaseki said the youths have a strong feeling of deprivation and marginalisation which was why they expressed themselves earlier in the programme.