OML25: Host Communities Accuse RSG Of Plotting Crisis
Host communities of Oil Minning License (OML)25 in Kula Kingdom which comprise Belema, Offoin-Ama and Ngeje have criticized the conveying of a stakeholders meeting on OML25 by the Rivers State Government, without the legitimate host communities saying the meeting was illegal and unnecessary.
Spokesperson of OML25 host communities, High Chief Fiala Okoye-Davies in a joint press conference held in Port Harcourt, Tuesday said the action of the Rivers State Government is tantamount to super-imposing the interest of non-stakeholders and docile minority over the rightful aspirations and yearning of the active majority and legitimate stakeholders of OML25.
High Chief Okoye-David said that the meeting held at the office of the Secretary to the State Government was politically motivated and a potential threat to the recent peace accord on the resolution of the OML25 dispute by the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mr. Mele Koko Kyari and the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari, adding that the meeting was a ploy to patronize political loyalists, associates and cronies at the expense of the legitimate stakeholders.
He said, “It is true that with the peace initiatives of the Federal Government which culminated in the peaceful agreement between NNPC, SPDC and Belema Oil which was initiated and supervised by the GMD of NNPC, Mr. Mele Koko Kyari and the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari, it was understood that the issues of OML25 had been finally resolved”, stressing that issues of OML25 are within the purview of the Federal Government as it fell under the Exclusive List of the Nigerian Constitution.
According to him, the action of the Rivers State Government could be regarded as meddlesome and inimical to the fragile peace already achieved by the Federal Government.
The High Chief who spoke on behalf of the leadership of OML25 noted that despite the cry of the people, the State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike who claimed to be concerned over their plight had never visited the area nor sent delegation to ascertain the level of neglect and backwardness of the host communities which produce over 45,000 barrels of crude oil and 103,000 metric cubic feet of gas per day.
Okoye-Davies noted that while the communities were celebrating the peace and development initiatives of the Federal Government, they were alarmed that less than one month of the official reopening of OML25 (Belema field) signaling a new beginning, the Rivers State Government was trying to impose a failed GMOU on the people, pointing out that the state government should not trigger communal crisis in the area and in Rivers State as OML25 is not in Rivers State but in Bayelsa State.
“We the OML25 communities are resolute and shall remain calm in the face of repeated provocations by those who have sworn that we will never develop”, the spokesman said, reiterating that no matter the intrigues, they want the JV partners of OML25 to adopt the Belema oil model adjudged as unique and a world-class sustainable development tool that is geared towards mutual community engagement, development and wealth creation, positing out that, “as host communities, we will accept nothing short of the implementation of the terms of the peace accord”.
He further disclosed that with the peace that have returned to the communities after seven years of struggle and over two years of peaceful shutdown of OML25 (Belema field), the initiative had started yielding fruit with the immediate deployment of portable water drilling rigs and the employment of over 600 youths and women into surveillance and related works in over 40 years of oil exploration and gas flaring in their communities, and called on the Federal Government to caution the State Governor to obey the constitution.
In their separate speeches, High Chief Ibioseye Sokubo on behalf of Offoin-Ama community and representative of PANDEF, Chief Anabs Saragbe called on the governor to focus on developing the state and not to destroy it as OML25 communities and the Federal Government are happy with the resolution, adding that international court of jurisdiction awaits anybody that wants to truncate the existing peace in the area as no one is above the law.