By Daniel Idonor
ABUJAâ€”VICE President Goodluck Jonathan has applauded the oil multi-national operating in Nigeria for their steadfastness and confidence in governmentâ€™s initiatives aimed at restoring peace and guaranteeing normal business environment for oil exploration and production in the Nigeria. The Vice President stated this when he received the Vice Chairman of the Board of Chevron Corporation USA, John Watson in Abuja yesterday.
The Vice President particularly commended the international oil companies for choosing to remain in Nigeria in spite of the operational challenges in the last few years. â€œThe challenges became worse in the last two years. Oil infrastructure is expensive and when damaged, can become unexpected expenditure.â€
Dr. Jonathan, however, reiterated an earlier optimism that better days are surely here again not only for oil exploration and production but also every other business in Nigeria. According to him, â€œthe crisis is at the beginning of its end. It has peaked and it has to nosediveâ€.
The Vice President stated further that government is truly committed to exploring the instrumentality of amnesty to ensure that criminal elements do not infiltrate into the group of repentant agitators that are being identified and rehabilitated. â€œWith the amnesty, government can handle genuine agitators. We are engaging them and would be able to sift the wheat from the chaff and deal with criminality,â€ he stated.
Earlier in his remarks, Watson, who is on tour of Chevron facilities in Nigeria, stated that he had visited Agbami field and Escravos, and expressed satisfaction about the size and progress of work at both projects.
The Chevron Vice Chairman disclosed that the company has so far engaged about 5,000 workers on both sites. Watson also assured that Chevron would continue to partner and work with local communities. He commended governmentâ€™s efforts in tackling the security situation in the Niger Delta.