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Oil exploration: Give peace a chance, Delta govt urges communities

By Festus Ahon

The Delta State Government has called on oil and gas producing communities in the state to sustain the existing peace in order to enhance the synergy among critical stakeholders and development partners in the oil and gas sector.

okowa, GOVERNMENT
Okowa

The state Commissioner, Ministry of Oil and Gas, Mr Freeman Fregene stated this in Ughelli during a consultative stakeholders forum with oil and gas producing communities in Delta Central in continuation of the state government’s aggressive engagement sessions with representatives of host communities.

Fregene said the State had  witnessed a steady increase in oil and gas production in recent times as a result of the relative peace in the Niger Delta region, emphasizing the need for host communities of oil and gas in the state to give peace a chance for multinationals and other oil and gas companies to operate in the state.

According to him, the forum with the theme “Curbing Youth Restiveness and Criminalities in the Oil and Gas Sector for Sustainable Development in Delta State”, was part of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s determined effort at ensuring the return of multinationals that left the state in the heat of insecurity in the Niger Delta region.

He said Governor Ifeanyi Okowa was desirous to sustain peace in the oil and gas sector through dialogue, stressing the need for stakeholders to join the campaign against all forms of criminalities for sustained development.

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The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Oil and Gas, Mrs Nkem Ajufo and the Director of Local Content, Mr Aweka Avwenaghagha said oil and gas producing communities should take advantage of the Ministry to nip any issues arising from the operations of oil and gas companies that could lead to hostilities.

In his lecture, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Political Science, Delta State University, Abraka, Dr Princewill Okereka said youth restiveness in the Niger Delta had been predominant resulting in acts of violence, lawlessness, hostage taking, illegal bunkering among others. He said the engagement sessions would complement the federal government’s quest for peace in the Niger Delta region and also to encourage the return of multinational oil companies which relocated from the state in the heat of insecurity.

Fregene urged communities to shun excessive and unnecessary monetary demands for oil companies operating in their areas, adding that the state government has signed into law the bill prohibiting multiple levies demanded from investors and developers.

The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Oil and Gas, Mrs Nkem Ajufo and the Director of Local Content, Mr Aweka Avwenaghagha said oil and gas producing communities should take advantage of the Ministry to nip any issues arising from the operations of oil and gas companies that could lead to hostilities.

In his lecture, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Political Science, Delta State University, Abraka, Dr Princewill Okereka said youth restiveness in the Niger Delta had been predominant resulting in acts of violence, lawlessness, hostage taking, illegal bunkering among others.

He said the Okowa led administration was changing the narratives with sensitization and consultative stakeholders meetings with host communities, adding that agitation is good but when it becomes destructive then it is bad.

Representatives of the host communities commended the state government for the interactive forum but stressed the need for government to do more in the development of oil-bearing communities.


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