Diri hosts Irabor, flays unfair treatment by oil firms
• CDS seeks partnership against oil theft, kidnapping
Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has condemned what he described as unfair collusion of oil firms and regulatory bodies against the interest of host communities in the Niger Delta.
Diri spoke, yesterday, when the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as saying that part of the security challenges in host communities were as a result of the injustice and unfair treatment by oil companies aided by the regulatory authorities.
Diri cited last November’s month-long oil and gas spillage in Nembe Council of the state from AITEO Exploration and Production Limited facility, which eventually resulted in litigation due to the manner the company and regulatory bodies treated the impacted communities.
Diri said the disposition of his government towards affected host communities prevented another flashpoint of conflict between them, AITEO and security agencies.
He said: “For us as a government, from the moment we assumed office, we have always preached peace and security and looking for constitutional, legal and legitimate ways of addressing the injustices over the years in our state.
“A case in point was the AITEO oil spill. That facility was said to be unproductive, was not decommissioned and it spewed oil for over a month, which was the first of its kind in the history of oil exploration in this country.
“At the end of the day, a potential source of conflict was during the joint inspection visit, which has caused a rift between the state government, AITEO and supervisors from the oil and gas sector.”
Diri called for synergy between the state and the military and recalled that it was the focus when the Chief of Defence Staff invited governors to Abuja to discuss how to ensure uninterrupted oil and gas production in Niger Delta when he was newly appointed.
The state’s helmsman stressed that his administration was willing to collaborate, synergise and strengthen existing relationships between the state and security agencies.
Earlier, Irabor said he and his team were in Bayelsa because they recognised the crucial role of the state government in accommodating and strengthening the operations of the country’s armed forces.
He added that the visit was also to solidify the partnership between both parties, particularly in combating oil theft, kidnapping and destruction of oil facilities across the state.
The defence chief noted that any form of destruction of the nation’s oil investment is a direct attack on the future of the country’s oil wealth and thanked Diri for his unrelenting support to the military and other security agencies.