Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State has condemned what it described as a campaign by the state Governor, Seriake Dickson, against international oil companies (IOCs) operating in the state.
Addressing journalists in Yenagoa yesterday, the APC state Publicity Secretary, Mr. Doifie Buokoribo, alleged that the move was a political campaign targeted at APC members with the environmental conditions in the area as only a peg.
Dickson had recently launched ‘Rise for Bayelsa’ against the IOCs, accusing them of causing environmental degradation and using their crude oil pipeline surveillance contracts to fund crisis in the state.
But the party dismissed the allegation as a move meant to pressure the oil companies into disengaging APC members engaged as pipeline contractors.
The party warned oil companies against descending into the political arena in the state by succumbing to the pressure to sack the pipeline surveillance contractors.
“It is no news that for over 60 years, IOCs operating in our region have been polluting the environment, and compromising lives and livelihoods. Patriotic Ijaw and Niger Delta men and women, both living and dead, have engaged in genuine campaigns, protests, and advocacy to end this sad reality.
“Their struggles have brought benefits to our land and the people in our collective quest for development. Our people know the patriots, and the patriots know the people.
“The people also know persons who have sought to make unfair profit from their sad condition. The high point of this political project was the inauguration in March of what Dickson called ‘Rise for Bayelsa Campaign’,” the party said.
APC added: “Governor Dickson claimed oil companies under the guise of crude oil pipeline surveillance contracts funded maiming, killings and terror attacks on communities in Southern Ijaw and Nembe during the 2019 general election.
“He (Dickson) specifically accused two chieftains of the APC, who are oil pipeline surveillance contractors, of security breaches in the state.
“We neither hold brief for the international oil corporations nor speak in the name of the surveillance contractors.”
But Buokoribo said it has a responsibility to protect its members from political persecution, noting that APC members are not the only people working as oil pipelines surveillance contractors in the state.The party spokesman alleged that it was a political strategy to ensure that no one can challenge the governor politically, stressing that members of the party who are oil pipeline surveillance contractors passed through due process to secure the jobs, just like their PDP counterparts.