Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The crisis rocking Oil Mining Lease (OML) 25 in Kula Kingdom, Abonemma Local Government Area is yet to abate as the host communities have declared that Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, lacks the powers to call for a stakeholders’ meeting as that area has been ceded to Bayelsa State.
This is as the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) also faulted Wike’s decision to organise a stakeholders’ meeting for OML-25, urging the governor to concentrate on things that would bring peace to the state.
Addressing a media briefing on behalf of Belema, Offoin-Ama and Ngeje communities in Port Harcourt yesterday, spokesman of the host communities, Chief Fiala Okoye-Davies, said Belema and Oko-Ama communities where the OML-25 is situated is in Bayelsa State and not Rivers State.
He accused Wike of being instrumental to the ceding of the area to Bayelsa when he was Minister of State for Education under Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency.
Okoye-Davies said: “We therefore appeal to the federal government to place a caution on the Governor of Rivers State to religiously obey constitutionality and follow civility in the governance of the people whom he swore an oath to protect not to balkanise our communities and make life a living hell for us.
“It is worthy to note that Belema and Oko-Ama communities wherein the OML-25 is situate is in Bayelsa State and not Rivers State by the 11th Administrative Map of the Federal Government. This matter is subsisting before the apex court.
“Conclusively, we have reflected that His Excellency when he was the Minister of State for Education was instrumental to the ceding of OML-25 to Bayelsa State. Until that position is reversed, common sense alludes to the fact that OML-25 is in the territory of Bayelsa State and doesn’t require the steer of Rivers State.”
Okoye-Davies alleged that the stakeholders’ meeting by the state government was politically-motivated and a potential threat to the recent peace accord on the resolution of OML-25 dispute by the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, and Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva.
He said: “It is our view that the so-called meeting today, Tuesday (October 29, 2019) at the office of the Secretary to the Rivers State Government is politically-motivated and a potential threat to the recent peace accord on the resolution of OML-25 dispute by the GMD of NNPC and the Minister of State for Petroleum, at th instance of Mr. President.
“The NNPC, which is a major JV partner, and other major stakeholders of OML-25 as well as the legitimate host communities were not consulted or invited by the Rivers State government for the meeting which in our view is illegal and unnecessary.”
Also addressing journalists yesterday in Port Harcourt, National Publicity Secretary of PANDEF, Chief Anabs Sara-Igbe, who is also from the area, said the organisation was surprised at the actions of the governor.