By Emem Idio, YENAGOA
Chairman of the Bayelsa State Council of Traditional Rulers and the Ibenanaowei of Ekpetiama Kingdom, HRM King Bubaraye Dakolo, Agada IV, has berated the Federal Government for giving out oil blocs in Niger Delta without consulting with host communities.
King Dakolo, who described the action of the Federal Government as morally wrong, said it was sad that the people, who suffer the adverse effects of oil exploration and exploitation and bear the brunt were never considered or consulted before oil blocs were allocated.
He said until host communities benefits and have a say in the management of oil and gas resources in their domain, the Federal Government will not know peace.
The monarch, at the lighting of the torch of Oil and Gas Stakeholders Festiva,l OGSFEST 2022, in Yenagoa, the state capital, noted with regrets that the community where oil was first discovered in commercial quantity, and the entire Niger Delta have nothing to show for, six decades after the exploration and exploitation of crude oil.
His words: “And this strong message is to the Nigerian state: you cannot steal what is ours and expect to sleep, it is not because we don’t want you to sleep, it is because of your attitude. So, if you want to sleep, if the Nigerian state wants to make it easy for law enforcement agents, then they should give to us what is ours, let us manage what is ours, let us be a major voice in determining how to use what is ours and then everyone will go to sleep.
“You cannot take our kingdoms and give to other persons in the name of oil blocs without our consent, knowledge, without our involvement and you want to sleep well, you can’t sleep well, it’s natural.
“We deserved to see some meaningful development in our land after 60 years of oil in Ogbia Kingdom, in Bayelsa State and in the Niger Delta. We are tired of having our oil money use to build refineries in Equatorial Guinea, as streets and hotels in Europe or stacked away in the Swiss banks, and not available for our use.”
In her address, the Convener of OGSFEST 2020, Ms Onome Wilkinson, said the Oil and Gas Stakeholders Festival Torch ceremony was designed as the flag-off of the “OGSFEST UYO 2022” to be held at in Akwa Ibom State in August this year.
She said OGSFEST, through a funfair approach was aimed at promoting peace, unity and a symbiotic relationship among host communities and the Nigerian government towards achieving unbridled economic development of oil producing areas and the entire country.
Wilkinson said: “We will encapsulate under festive mood, a realistic view of the narrative of host communities, the sincere efforts of the government and the tangible socio-corporate interventions of both NOCs and IOCs towards the development of the oil-rich Niger Delta over the years.
“The festival amongst others will showcase essay competitions, epic dramas, colourfully packaged in a series of command performances by selected state cultural troupes, side by side with roundtable discussions on quite a number of plenaries bordering on environment, oil spillage, PIA and more.”