By Festus Ahon
ASABA—GOVERNOR Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, yesterday, warned against using oil surveillance contract as a ploy to cause trouble in the state, saying such could cause more economic challenges in Nigeria.
Okowa, who gave the warning while addressing over 1,000 aggrieved ex-agitators of the Federal Government Amnesty Programme and youths from host communities of OML 30, who protested at the Government House, Asaba, said his administration would take necessary actions to address their grievances.
He said: “I want to advise that whosoever is plotting against the people, should allow Delta State to remain peaceful, because, in peace, we will be able to produce and export more crude oil.
“It is our hope that nobody, especially as the oil prices are going down should take any action that would foil the quantity of oil that we are currently producing. I want to thank you and appreciate you for the way you have put yourself together.
“I want to appreciate you for deciding to make the protest peaceful. That is the hallmark of Delta youths. We are knowledgeable and we know that what is right is what should be done.
“This protest is happening on a day we are holding our Security Council meeting and the security agencies are here.
“The agencies have been working hard with the support of our people to keep the Trans Forcados line safe and we thank God that because of the safety of that pipeline, oil production in this nation has increased.
“We have held a series of meetings with stakeholders and we have long agreed that it is best to secure our pipelines when we are in charge.
“The people, who own the place know how best to protect their property and since June 2017 that the Trans Forcados line has been open, it has been functional and our oil production and export have continued to increase.
“I will find it very disturbing if a new contract is being awarded not to talk about awarding the said contract under a higher cost. I believe Mr. President will not accept this.’’
Mr. Tennyson Oriunu, who spoke earlier on behalf of the protesters, said; “Earlier this month, close to a thousand angry youths and ex-agitators from the 111 communities of Ijaw, Urhobo, Itsekiri and Isoko ethnic nationalities who are hosts to the OML 30 facilities, came to Asaba to peacefully complain about the directives of some companies to start another war in our communities by hijacking the surveillance contract of the Trans-Forcados Pipeline.”