Bayelsa Cautions Oil-bearing Communities over Incessant Shutdown of Oil Facilities

Olusegun Samuel in Yenagoa

The Bayelsa State Government has urged host communities to resist the temptation of disrupting the operations of oil companies in the state without exhausting legitimate means of conflict resolutions.

The State Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, stated this on yesterday at a meeting with representatives of Peremabiri Community in Southern Ijaw Council Area and Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in Government House, Yenagoa.

 Ewhrudjakpo, in a statement by his media aide, Mr Doubara Atasi, condemned the act of occupying oil facilities as a form of protest to disrupt oil production, stressing that such actions were not in the best interest of the state.

He pointed out that frequent occupation of oil facilities do not only portray the state in a bad light but also deprive it of reasonable revenues for infrastructure and other development purposes.

The deputy governor maintained that forcibly taking over and shutting down oil flow stations was one of the reasons genuine investors were being chased away from doing business in Bayelsa and Rivers States to places like Lagos State.

While assuring that the present administration will not support any oil company to deny oil bearing communities of their legal rights,  Ewhrudjakpo expressed displeasure over the refusal of the  Peremabiri CDC Chairman and youth president to attend the meeting.

He described the behaviour as uncalled for and an affront to the state government, warning individuals and communities not to take the peaceful disposition of the Governor Douye Diri-led administration for granted.

Consequently, the deputy governor called on the Peremabiri people to vacate the occupied Diebu Creek Nun River Flow Station in their own interest and for the common good of the state.

“We are surprised that the CDC Chairman, the youth president, and the woman leader of Peremabiri are not here. They are currently occupying the flow station at Peremabiri, and the danger is that, if they are not careful and anything happens, everybody would be consumed. May be they don’t know the danger involved in occupying that flow station and it’s not in their best interest.

“If they have issues with the SPDC, there is always a ground for discussion, hence this meeting was convened to discuss the timeline and other aspects of the project they are agitating for, and they are not here. They should know that after God is governmental power.

“If the office of the deputy governor is inviting them on behalf of the governor for a meeting, why would the CDC chairman and other community leaders refuse to attend?

“They should not overstretch the resolve of government or test our will to be decisive and coercive when and where necessary.

“This resort to violence to press home demands has deprived our region, the Niger Delta Region of investments, and had forced the oil companies to move from Port Harcourt to Lagos,” he said.

In attendance at the meeting were: the Member Representing Southern Ijaw Constituency 3 in the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Hon. Marlon Moses; the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government, Chieftaincy and Community Development, Mr. Collins Ifidi, and his counterpart from Ministry of Mineral Resources, Dr. Ifiemi Ikoko.

Others were the Chairman of Southern Ijaw LGA, Mr Lucky Okodeh, the Amananaowei of Peremabiri community, HRH Never-Die Progress; the Corporate Relations Manager of SPDC, Mr Evans Krukrubo; Project Manager, Engineer Odima Douglas, and Community Relations Coordinator, Chief Raymond Amadi.

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