Gov Wike warns Rivers communities against shutting down oil facilities
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has warned that the State Government would not tolerate the shutting down of oil facilities by any community in the state.
Wike said under no circumstance should communities take laws into their hands by preventing oil production companies from working.
Speaking duringa meeting with Chairmen of Cluster Development Boards in Asari-Toru,Akuku-Toru, Degema Local Government Areas, oil companies and security agencies at the Government House, Port Harcourt on Thursday, Wike directed the immediate revival of the State Steering Committee on Cluster Development Boards.
He said, “I will not support any company not to carry out their corporate social responsibilities to their host communities.
“However, communities must not take laws into their hands. They must not stop production by the operating companies. Such actions will negatively affect the finances of the Federal Government, the State and the Local Government areas.”
He said in cases where companies failed to act within the expectations of the communities, the State Government would mediate through the Steering Committee on Cluster Development Boards.
“It is important that we do not allow crisis to occur in the communities. The Aeroton rig in one community was seized.
“That rig should be allowed to work. I called this meeting because of the concerns raised by the operating companies in the area,” he said.
The governor said that the Steering Committee on Cluster Development Boards would have the Permanent Secretary,Community Development, Security Agencies, Community Development Clusters and oil companies as members.
He said the committee would meet at regular intervals to address ensuing challenges in order to forestall the escalation of conflicts.
He regretted that most problems in the Niger Delta were caused by oil companies patronising and engaging criminal elements to the disadvantage of the host communities.
In a remark, former Commissioner of Environment,Mr. Samuel Horsfall, said that the oil operating companies knew the right thing to do, but would never take the right steps.
He said that the oil companies even refuse to recognise council chairmen,who were the direct links to the respective communities.
Also, an official of one of the Cluster Development Board, Mr. Charles Sekibo, denied seizing the rig of one of the oil companies.
Sekibo said that his community had always provided the needed support for the company to engage in production.
In his remarks, the Managing Director of Aeroton, Mr. Ebiaho Emafo, said that nobody had the right to stop the production of oil companies.
He disclosed that the company had spent about N3 billion on community development, saying that the company was struggling to make ends meet.