Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has called on oil companies to respect the memoranda of understanding signed with host communities to ensure peaceful and productive operations.
He spoke Saturday at the Government House Port Harcourt during a courtesy visit by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Silva, the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mele Kyari, and the Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, Osagie Okunbo.
Wike declared that his administration will continue to develop the right environment for all investors to operate in the State.
“The oil companies should also respect the Memoranda of Understanding signed with the host communities.
“As the SPDC goes in, whatever they have agreed with the communities should be implemented. If they implement it, they will do their work. If they don’t implement, there will be another round of crisis. And then, they will call Government to come in.
“Ours is to make sure that people carry out their businesses in a very conducive environment. This is the role the Rivers State Government will always play”.
He said that the fundamental focus of the Rivers State Government is for the OML 25 to be operational and productive. He regretted that for over two years, the Oil Facility was shut down and nobody acted.
“I don’t know the role of the security agencies in all of this. We will meet here and agree that the people should vacate the place and let Shell resume work, but the security agencies will do something else “, he said.
He noted that Rivers State is a very peaceful state where oil companies have always been supported to carry out their legitimate activities.
“We took it on ourselves to see that Shell reconciles with the communities”, he said.
Governor Wike noted that during the days of pipeline vandalism, Rivers State witnessed the least cases of vandalism because of the security investment of the State Government.
“When there was this issue of vandalism of oil facilities, Rivers State Government gave the highest support to stop it. In the Niger Delta, Rivers State had the least cases of vandalism.
“I have always supported efforts to protect national assets in the state. Anybody can tell you that. I will continue to create the right environment for investment. If I don’t do it, how will I get funds to execute key projects,” he said.
Wike urged the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources to prevail on the APC Federal Government to execute projects in Rivers State.
In his remarks, Sylva expressed happiness that they are in the state to celebrate the return of peace to the OML 25 and the host communities.
“This is a good signal and we should deepen it. The Niger Delta has struggled for peace. We have lost more than we have gained,” he said.
He said that some people are deliberately fuelling problems for business opportunities to leave Rivers State. He said that this is the right time for all stakeholders to work for more investors in the state.
Silva said that the successful resolution of the OML 25 conflict is a right starting point to change the narrative in Rivers State.
“Let us use this opportunity to turn a new leaf. Let us use this as a model to replicate in other communities. Oil is a depleting resource. One day, we may wake up and oil companies would have left because it is no longer profitable for them. Oloibori is an example,” he said.
He charged leaders to work to resolve all the emerging challenges to enhance development.
“Let us try and close ranks as people and ensure that the problem is put to rest finally. We hope this will signal the beginning of a new chapter,” he said.