Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, has called for a change of strategy from agitations in the Niger Delta to maximise the interventions in the region.
Sylva made the call on Saturday during a visit to OML-25 Flow Station at Belema Community, Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers.
He said that the people of Niger Delta had fought enough and now need to allow peace in the region for development to take place.
“I know that as a people we have fought; and today we will all agree that the Federal Government have head our cries.
“A lot of interventions have come to the Niger Delta because of the agitations, yet we have not seen the benefits percolating down totally.
“But at least there is a start, and that is why we must take cognisance of it and change strategy to benefit maximally from the interventions,” he said.
According to Sylva, it is time for the Niger Delta people to look inwards and see what strategy to adopt in other to get the benefits of the fight that we have not harnessed.
“Because of the agitations, the Federal Government approved 13% Derivation for oil producing states, and Rivers is benefiting from that.
“The Fderal Government also because of the agitations established the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Federal Amnesty Programme and Ministry of Niger Delta.
“But the problem is, have we benefited from any of these? The answer is no because we are still fighting instead of taking,” he said.
The minister said that non-Niger Delta people were coming to the region to take advantage of the interventions of the Federal Government.
“That’s is why we must transit from the mode of fighting to take advantage of the interventions and also create peace to allow investors come into the region.
“It is only when we have peace that investors can come in and create job that will engage our youths,” he added.
Mr Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director (GMD), Nigerian National Petroleum Development Corporation (NNPC), said that the federal delegation was at the platform because the host communities had lost peace.
Kyari said that the Federal Government in search of peace in Belema, Offoin-ama and Ngeje communities decided to bring SPDC and BelemaOil to a round table to end agitation.
“Yes, we have all lost money since the facility was shutdown but our main target us to achieve peace in this community.
“We are happy that when we sat with BelemaOil and SPDC, and told them that we need to end the fight for the communities to have peace.
“We are not looking for money, we are looking for peace in the host communities; so, we agreed to involve BelemaOil in the activities of OML-25,” he said.
Kyari disclosed that NNPC and SPDC had all agreed to involve BelemaOil in the operation of the facility and benefits to community would be managed by them.
He took responsibility for whatever injustice the communities had faced and stated that the agreement reached would be published and operations would begin at the facility.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that women of OML-25 host communities shutdown operations at the flow station two years ago over failure of SPDC to carry it’s Corporate Social Responsibility.
(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)