Deputy Governor of Delta State, Deacon Kingsley Burutu Otuaro says the Federal Government has agreed to go into dialogue with stakeholders after the sallah break on the reported threat to shut down oil installation in the state.
BIGPEN recalls several oil and gas host communities in the state had threatened to cripple operations of the multinational oil companies in the state to drive home their grievances.
In the past few weeks, peaceful agitations by the Ijaw of Gbaramatu Kingdom and the Itsekiri, in Warri area, were followed by the Urhobo, the Isoko, Ijaw of Ogulagha and Ndokwa people in Delta State in quick succession.
The ethnic groups had threatened to shut down oil operations if the Federal Government did not halt its fresh bid for Marginal Oil Fields to give them right of first refusal.
Marginal fields are known oil or gas discoveries on an IOC-owned block and where there has been no activity in at least the last 10 years. With the agreement of the IOC, the DPR carves-out a piece of land surrounding the discovery and this becomes a Marginal field.
The last bid round for the Marginal Fields was said to have taken place in 2002.
Specifically, the Ijaw and Itsekiri people had demanded the commencement of the Gas Revolution Industrial Park and Gbaramatu Deep Sea Port projects known as Escravos Export Processing Zone, EPZ projects.
They also demanded the return of the diverted Modular Floating Dockyard back to Okerenkoko as well as commencement of work on the Escravos-Omadino and Ogheye-Koko road projects, amongst others.
Meanwhile, Otuaro who met with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo alongside Petroleum Minister, Chief Timipre Sylva over the renewed agitations in the Niger Delta, said that the federal government would be going into dialogue after the sallah break.
He spoke to newsmen on Thursday in Asaba shortly after his arrival from Abuja where he was invited, along with the minister to clarify issues of agitation by the host communities to the Vice President.
Osibanjo was quoted to have said that he does not “want the issues to escalate to bigger problems” hence the meeting.
According to Otuaro, “The FG has acknowledged, just as we should, that constructive engagement is the way out to deal with the issues. That is what we have agreed.
“I’m just back from Abuja and like I told leaders of the oil bearing areas last week, the FG and State Government were only perfecting constructive plans for result-oriented engagement with the oil bearing areas”, Otuaro said.
Expressing appreciation to the leadership Ijaw, Itsekiri, Urhobo, Isoko and Ndokwa ethnic nations for heeding appeal of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to exercise restrains and patience, Otuaro said: “Sustaining the values of peace and neighbourliness is imperative to the pursuit of our ‘Stronger Delta agenda’.
“I want to therefore appreciate and thank the leadership of the oil bearing areas who have bought into this Peace Paradigm despite perceived neglect and pains.
“I assure you that in the coming days soon after Sallah, we will be looking at the issues with a view to addressing them via a platform that will be created.
“Let me also appeal to all critical stakeholders, especially the oil companies not to stay aloof but to continually add value to what we are doing”, the Deputy Governor added.