By Samuel Oyadongha & Emem Idio

YENAGOA—A non-governmental organisation, Mothers For Peace Initiative, MPI, and the Host Communities of Oil and Gas, HOSCOM, yesterday, marked the 60th anniversary of Nigeria’s first oil well at Oloibiri,  with a town hall meeting in Bayelsa State.

The occasion, held at Ogbia Brotherhood Hall, in Ogbia Town, headquarters of Ogbia Local Government Area of the state, about one kilometre away from Oloibiri, was also used to re-echo the under- development of the area and the need to mobilise support for the rapid infrastructural development of the neglected area.

In her speech, President and Founder of MPI, Mrs. Ethel Diete-Spiff, who described the Niger Delta region as the most polluted area on Planet Earth, said that the occasion offered the rare opportunity to build empathy for the hurt of the past and share encouragement for the fears and struggles of recent years while building a resilience of hope for a better future.

According to Mrs Spiff, the discovery of crude oil in Oloibiri in 1956 had brought hope for rapid growth and greatness for a young nation but regretted that 60 years after, the dream has remained tales of woes and retrogression.

She disclosed plans by her organisation in conjunction with HOSCOM and other relevant bodies to build a world class epicentre for research and development of renewable energy in Oloibiri, with focus on how to avert the mistakes of the past and make amends for the present while planning for the future.

Spiff said: “Our common dreams of equity, justice and greatness have turned to a living nightmare of poverty, youth restiveness, corruption and environmental degradation.

“Today’s realities present several challenges, one of which is the dwindling relevance of oil to the global economy. The immediate collateral implication of this is the loss of the traditional platform for organised agitation for improved living in the Niger Delta.”

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