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OML 25 Shutdown: Host communities doubt sincerity of Wike’s intervention

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The leaders of OML 25 Host Communities in Rivers say that they do not have confidence in Rivers Government to resolve the issues leading to the shutdown of the oil facility.

The host communities are Belema, Offoin-ama and Ngeje all in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of the state.

Chief Fiala Okoye-Davies, Secretary to Belema Community expressed the doubt on behalf of the host communities at a news conference in Port Harcourt on Thursday.

Okoye-Davies disclosed that previous administrations of Dr Peter Odili and Mr Chibuike Amaechi, of which Gov. Wike was part could not resolve the issue.

He said that the purported invitation of OML 25 host communities through the Office of the Secretary to the Rivers Government to a meeting slated for June 22 was laced with foul play.

“Key players and rightful leadership of the host communities were not invited to the said meeting, while some persons invited are not members of OML 25 host communities.

“Mr Ibinabo Kalaoriye that got invitation has been restrained by a judgement of a Rivers State High Court not to parade himself as a traditional ruler or leader of Belema community,” he alleged.

According to Okoye-Davies, the OML-25 shutdown matter is before the Office of the Vice-President of Nigeria for dialogue, negotiation and peaceful resolution which the Rivers Government is aware of.

“The last decision arrived at with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), NAPIMS, Security Agencies, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and the Host Communities, was to constitute a joint investigation visit to Belema community to be organised by SPDC.

“This has not been carried out by Shell Petroleum Development Company,” he added.

The host communities described the intervention of Gov. Wike on OML-25 saga as meddlesome because it was on the Exclusive List and not on the Concurrent List of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.

“And we further view this meeting as invitation to resurgence of violence and anarchy in Kula Kingdom which is unarguably the most peaceful environment in Rivers.

“It is our view that the meeting is a gathering of the Gov. Wike and his political allies in Wards 15, 16, and Abonnema community of Akuku-Toru LGA and not with leaders of the affected host communities.

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

The host communities said Gov. Wike’s sudden interest to resolve a shutdown of less than two years and pleaded with him to exercise restraint and caution on the matter.

“In the light of the foregoing, we call on the Federal Government and all security agencies to prevail on the governor of Rivers to have a rethink on his approach and intervention of the OML-25 issue.

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