Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The Founder and President of Belemaoil Producing Limited, Jack-rich Tein Jr, has expressed delight that the federal government heard the cries of host communities of the OML 25 and intervened in the resolution of their plight of marginalisation over the years by oil companies.
This is just as he called on the host communities of OML 25 to sustain the peace brokered between them and Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) by the federal government.
Tein, spoke to journalists at the side-line of the re-opening of the OML 25 Flow Station in Belema Community of Kula Kingdom in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State, recently.
The people of Offoin-Ama, Belema and Ngeje communities of Kula Kingdom, who are hosts to OML 25, had shut down the flow station since August 2017, over alleged neglect and marginalisation by the operator of the licence, SPDC.
The communities alleged that SPDC failed to implement the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the parties. They insisted that Belemaoil, founded by a son-of-the-soil, should be handed over the facility.
Indeed, the Group Managing Director (GMD) of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, said Nigeria lost an equivalent of $1.7 billion being proceeds of 45,000 barrels per day within two years of temporary shutdown of oil and gas production from Oil Mining Lease (OML) 25.
Addressing journalists at the formal end of hostilities and the re-opening of the facility, Tein said President Muhammadu Buhari heard the cries of the OML 25 host communities hence his intervention to end the crisis.
Tein, lauded the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, and the NNPC Group Managing Director, for their commitment towards the restoration of peace to the host communities and the reopening of the Belema flow station.
He said: “At the platform, I told the women that their cry for a better living has been recognised by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It has been recognised by the Minister of State for Petroleum and the Group Managing Director of NNPC as well as the Managing Director of Shell.
“Shell came here with the most powerful personnel, the Deputy Managing Director and you can see the technical team led by the Technical Director. This is super excellent visit to this great community.
“The community is happy; you can see the youths all over the place celebrating. You heard what the NNPC GMD said, that if the community fails to develop, he is going to hold Jack-rich, his younger brother responsible and that the community should also hold him, the GMD responsible.
“That is an important statement. These are not statements you hear any other day. For us, this is an important event and the community are very happy. I am happy because the youths are happy and the women are happy.
“There is an important thing we need to recognise that Nigeria has a growing population of about three to five per cent and that in the next 30 years, we are going to experience a population growth of about 380 million and 65 to 75 per cent of that population are young guys like you.
“We are going to have additional 180 million people in our population in the next 30 years and if we don’t handle it well, we are going to have a lot of social issues. That is if we fail to set up a platform that is going to allow business thrive in this part of the country, then we will have a major challenge.
“That is why the GMD and the Minister took it as an important part of their business to come here with all the Federal Government agencies, to actually demonstrate that we recognise what you have been looking for. We recognise your struggle, we understood what you meant and we are coming to visit you.”
Sylva, had while reopening the flow station, called on communities in the Niger Delta region to ensure a conducive environment in order to attract investment and development to their communities.
He said: “We need peace because if we don’t begin to make our communities peaceful, development will not come, investors want to come here, but we must make our communities conducive for them to come, if investors do not come, there will be no jobs for our youths.”