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Again, communities query Rivers government’s interest in OML 25

By Ann Godwin, Port Harcourt
30 October 2019   |   4:07 am
Barely one month after a peaceful resolution and the re-opening of the controversial Oil Mining Lease, OML 25 in Kula Kingdom, Akuku Toru Local Council of Rivers State...

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike

Barely one month after a peaceful resolution and the re-opening of the controversial Oil Mining Lease, OML 25 in Kula Kingdom, Akuku Toru Local Council of Rivers State, the leaders of the three host-communities have raised the alarm over a fresh looming crisis in the area.

The communities, Belema, Offoin-Ama and Ngeje, said it was disturbing that while they were still celebrating the peace and developmental initiatives of the Federal Government over the peaceful reopening of the oil facility, which was shut down for over two years, the state government issued a circular calling for a stakeholders’ meeting on the oil field in the office of Secretary to the State Government.

The communities queried Governor Nyesom Wike’s interest in the flow-station given that the issues have been resolved and peace restored in the area. They further alleged that the said meeting, which most of them were not invited, was capable of causing a fresh crisis in the area.

Spokesmen of the communities, Chief Fiala Okoye-Davies (Belema), Ibiosiya Nath-Sokubo (Offoin-Ama) and Ibinabo Daniel Kiliya (Ngeje), stated this in a joint statement while addressing journalists yesterday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

In the statement read by Okoye-Davies, the community leaders alleged that the said meeting billed for yesterday, October 29, 2019, was politically-motivated and a potential threat to the recent peace accord on the resolution of OML 25 dispute.

The communities further alleged that the meeting was a ploy by the state government to use OML 25 to patronise its political loyalists, associates and cronies at the expense of the legitimate stakeholders, reiterating that the action of the state government is inimical to the fragile peace already achieved by the Federal Government.

The spokesmen expressed dismay that the governor, who was supposed to encourage the peace initiative is taking actions that might instigate fresh crisis in the area.

The communities, which said that issues of OML 25 were within the purview of the Federal Government as it falls under the Exclusive List of the Nigerian Constitution, however, urged Wike to stop creating confusion in community affairs but rather, should be more interested in resolving the boundaries issues with Bayelsa State.

They further appealed to the Federal Government to place a caution on the governor to obey constitutionality and follow civility in the governance of the people whom he swore an oath to protect.

On his part, Nath-Sokubo alleged plans by some people to arrest and kill some of the community leaders following their stand on the oil well but vowed that they would not succeed.

He said: “Our lives are in the hands of securitymen now. If there is any drop of blood in Kula, the Rivers State Government should be held responsible. We are fighting a just course.”

Also, spokesman of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), His Highness, Anab Sara-Igbe, urged the governor to focus on development and governance and stop fanning crisis to avoid truncating the fragile peace that has come to Kula communities.

“We are surprised that the governor is fanning ember of war in the OML 25 communities, the same governor who refused to honour the invitation to resolve the OML 25 dispute with the Federal Government.”