Bayelsa Governor Henry Seriake Dickson has met with representatives of International Oil Companies, (IOCs) and security chiefs to proffer solutions to the recent upsurge in criminal activities in the Niger Delta region.
The governor, who called for concerted efforts to arrest the ugly trend, decried the killings of security personnel, innocent citizens and the vandalism of the oil installations by the Niger Delta Avengers, describing the perpetrators as criminals and economic saboteurs.
Declaring the meeting open, Governor Dickson said, the development is sending a wrong signal to the international community, adding that, foreign investors are being scared away from investing in the country.
Reiterating his administration’s commitment to the protection of lives and property, the governor said, the recent development is affecting the socio-economic growth of not only the state, but the entire region.
The governor, therefore, called on stakeholders to discuss the way forward to nip in the bud, the unwarranted and incessant destruction of critical national assets, adding, ‘the way forward is for all stakeholders to discuss the issues and the need for the Federal government to tread with caution and not adopt military approach as a means to solve the problem.
‘No one person can protect the assets in the remote areas of the region. I, therefore, call on those involved in this act of criminality and brigandage to stop forthwith. The Governor also commended the military and other security organs in their fight against pipelines vandalism and the protection of lives and property in the region.
Speaking in the same vein the State Deputy commissioner of Police, Joseph Mukah said, the meeting has resolved to engage various communities in the region in a dialogue in order to put an end to the recent upsurge in criminal activities.
Security findings, according to him, revealed that some oil producing communities are not happy with the award of the surveillance contract by the oil companies to non indigenes.
Mukah disclosed that, the issue was discussed at the meeting and it was resolved that the chairmen of the affected Community Development Committees and the youths would be engaged in a dialogue.
Also speaking, the Director of the NNPC/Chevron joint venture, Monday Ovuedu, Group Executive Director, Media, Government and Public Affairs, Mr. Sola Omole and Head of Legal Services, CONOIL Plc, Michael Madugbe said, the oil companies operating in the region would collaborate with the government at sustaining peace in the region.
They pointed out that, the sustained engagement strategy, with sincerety of purpose and for all the stakeholders to work together for the collective interest of all is what the parley was all about.
The State Commissioner of Information and Orientation, Hon. Jonathan Obuebite commended the efforts of the government in tackling the upsurge on the attack on oil installations.
Hon. Obuebite disclosed that, the government has set up a desk to tackle frontally, the upsurge in criminal activities, as the government will bring all stakeholders on board in nipping it in the bud, before it occurs.
He pointed out that, the government is not only looking at receiving taxes alone from the companies, but also to provide a conducive working environment for businesses to thrive.