Sylva to Niger Delta: allow peace for investment
Minister of State for Petroleum Timipre Sylva has urged Niger Delta communities to allow peace for investment to thrive.
Sylva and the Group Managing Director of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Mele Kyari spoke when they visited host communities and facilities of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 25 at Kula in Asari-Toru Local Government of Rivers State.
A statement by NNPC’s Acting Group General Manager of Group Public Affairs Samson Makoji said the visit followed the peace brokered by both men on the disputed mining lease between Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and Belema Oil.
Sylva noted that for investments to thrive in Niger Delta, the people should live in peace with firms operating in their land.
He said: “We need unity in our land today. We have fought to this point and the Federal Government has started looking our way. It is time for us to change strategy and ensure that we bring the benefits of investments to our communities. If we don’t make our communities peaceful, investments cannot come. The investors are ready to come here, unfortunately in some cases there is no peace.”
Kyari said the NNPC had the mandate to work with stakeholders towards peace in oil-producing communities.
“Our immediate priority is the restoration of peace to the host communities, not just to restore production. This is because once peace comes, oil production (which is about 35,000 barrels per day here) will ultimately return.
“What we have done today is to ensure that normal life returns to this community so that after two years of dispute, we would have found a lasting solution which would enable people return to their work, jobs will be created and the social services that ought to come with these activities will be restored,” Kyari stated.
King Kroma Eleki, who spoke for traditional rulers in Kula, hailed the peace deal and said they would work with the government to bring development to the people.
President-General of Kula Youth Ekine Japus lauded the Federal Government’s peace overtures through the minister and NNPC.
Highlights of the occasion include opening of the NNPC/Belema JV Potable Water, and groundbreaking of the 85km Kula-Degema-Port Harcourt Expressway.