By Abel Johngold Orheruata
BURUTU/Nigeria: Delta State Deputy Governor, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro has called on critical stakeholders to remodel their community engagement policies and practices, adding that the state government will not rest on its oars in achieving the desired peace that will encourage business to grow in the state in cordial relationship with the people.
Barr. Otuaro, stated this at Ogulagha town in Burutu Local government area, during a Two- Day Conference organized by the Delta State Government, on Securing Oil and Gas Installations.
Barr. Otuaro, noted that, the Theme of the Programme; ‘Sustaining Peace Building Potentials And Surveillance of Oil And Gas Assets Through Community Engagement’ is most apt to further deepen continual intelligence and peace to create the enabling environment for businesses to strive in the Niger Delta.
According to him, it is not news that Nigeria economy is largely dependent on oil, what is news is the continuous destruction of the oil and gas facilities that has further crippled the economy.
The Deputy Governor noted that, against this backdrop, and in other to change this narrative, the State government set up the Delta State Advocacy Committee Against Vandalism of Oil and Gas Facilities in order to press home the need for peace and stoppage of destruction of these facilities.
Barr. Otuaro, said, the committee in its advocacy campaign has continued to engage critical stakeholders such as traditional rulers and their chiefs, women group, communities and opinion leaders and ex-militants on the need to stop the destruction of oil and gas facilities in the region.
In his word; “I want to state that some of our findings during this advocacy campaign was that, other than the neglect of developmental infrastructure which is key, we came to the realisation that militancy in the Niger Delta region with particular emphasises to Delta State has assumed a sophistication which requires all critical stakeholders to remodel their community engagement policies and practices. And what we are doing today is an offshoot to deepen that process”. He said.
Barr. Otuaro while calling on all to promote the message of peace for more development to take place, he noted that, government will not rest on its oars in achieving the desired peace that will encourage investors to do business in the state.
In his keynote address, the Managing Director/Country Chairman, Shell Petroleum Development Company ,SPDC, Mr. Osagie Okunbor, noted that, the conference is a good platform to examine how all stakeholders can continue to contribute to stopping illegal activities in other to secure their future and generation yet unborn.
“At SPDC we have continued to undertake initiatives to prevent and minimise spills caused by either theft or facilities in the region. We are also aware of other efforts to stop crude theft including setting up of a joint task force and this is proper in giving security dimensions of this challenges.
“However, I believe we also face a development challenge, it means developing the communities in the Niger Delta, creating employment opportunities, providing amenities and building infrastructures, for the same reason the SPDC has continued to work with the government, with communities and civil societies to implement social investment programmes that have a lasting impact on the lives of the Niger Delta and the country as a whole”. Mr. Okunbor stated.
Lectures were delivered on “Crude Oil Theft, Illegal Bunkering and Refining: Impact On Food Security, Economy And Environment by Prof. Flora Tobolayefa Oluwafemi. as well as Environmental Peace And Prosperity in the Niger Delta: securing oil and gas installations By Dr Stephen Demola Faleti, while the interactive session afforded participants the opportunity to bear their minds on how they have been neglected in the oil rich region and the possible way forward.