Delta govt tasks oil communities on peace

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Delta Government has called on oil and gas producing communities in the state to sustain the existing peace in order to enhance the synergy among stakeholders and development partners in the oil and gas sector.

Commissioner of Ministry for Oil and Gas, Freeman Fregene, stated this in Ughelli during a consultative stakeholders’ forum with oil and gas producing communities in Delta Central.

Fregene, who said Delta State had witnessed a steady increase in oil and gas production in recent times as a result of the relative peace in oil and gas bearing communities, emphasised the need for host communities to give peace a chance for multinationals and other oil and gas companies to operate in the state.

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He stated that the forum with the theme: “Curbing Youth Restiveness and Criminalities in the Oil and Gas Sector for Sustainable Development in Delta State,” was part of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s efforts at ensuring the return of multinationals that left the state in the heat of insecurity in the Niger Delta region.

The commissioner noted that the engagement sessions will also complement the Federal Government’s quest for peace in the Niger Delta region, maintaining that for the state’s economy to grow, the synergy between critical stakeholders in the oil and gas sector must be sustained.

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Fregene urged communities to shun excessive and unnecessary monetary demands from oil companies operating in their areas as the state government has signed into law the the bill prohibiting multiple levies demanded from investors and developers, pointing out that such act discourages infrastructure development.

While stressing that acts such as illegal refining of crude oil, pipeline vandalism and kidnapping are inimical to the progress and development of the state, Fregene urged oil and gas companies and host communities to ensure there are inputs from the state government during signing of memorandum of understanding (MoU).

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He added that the ministries of Oil and Gas and Justice have been mandated to always interface with oil companies and host communities with a view to tackling all issues that threaten peace in the oil and gas sector.

In a lecture on the theme, a senior lecturer in the Department of Political Science, Delta State University, Abraka, Dr. Princewill Okereka, said youth restiveness in the Niger Delta had been predominant resulting in acts of violence, lawlessness, hostage taking and illegal bunkering.

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