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Host communities urge governor to steer clear of OML 25 oil field

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Host communities of OML 25 in Akuku-Toru Local Council of Rivers State have urged Governor Nyesom Wike to steer clear of issues involving Belema oil field, which was shut down two years ago, following series of protests over alleged negligence by the former operators.

The communities said the matter on closure of the oil field was before the Presidency, describing the peace call by the governor as political gathering, which is capable of re-igniting violence and anarchy in the area.

Spokesperson of Kula Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers, and Secretary of Belema Council of Chiefs, Alabo Fiala Okoye-Davies, who spoke on the development yesterday in Port Harcourt, threatened that the communities would boycott the meeting being convened by Wike.

They alleged that the reason for the meeting was to unveil plans on how to reopen the oil field. Okoye-Davies noted that no stakeholder in the area was invited for the said meeting, adding that those invited are not members of the host communities of OML 25 but political allies of the governor in Abonnema and other areas.

He said: “The so-called intervention of Wike casts a shadow of doubt on the sincerity of the governor in resolving the issue, as the governor has never intervened on the Ogoni shutdown of over 26 years.

“The question is why this sudden interest to resolve a shutdown of less than two years. We, therefore, plead with His Excellency to exercise restraint and caution on this matter.

“This matter is being handled by the Presidency and is currently before the office of the Vice President for dialogue, negotiation and peaceful resolution which the Rivers State Government is fully aware of.”Also, a spokesman of PANDEF, Chief Anabs Sara-Igbe, said the organisation was concerned about the matter, adding that another meeting had been fixed to discuss the matter and wondered the state government’s abrupt intervention.

He said the oil filed had been shut down over two years with no reaction from Governor Wike, saying it is too late for governor to come into the matter.

Besides, a youth leader in the area and President of National Youth Council of Nigeria, Sokubo Sara-Igbe Sokubo, said the community expected Wike to intervene in the matter for a long time but he failed, insisting that the governor should go and handle the Ogoni oil field shutdown before the one in Kula community.

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