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Escravos oil threats: Okowa advises Ijaw/Itsekiri to sustain win-win option





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Escravos oil threats: Okowa advises Ijaw/Itsekiri to sustain win-win option
Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa

By Etop Ekanem

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has advised aggrieved Ijaw of Gbaramatu Kingdom and Itsekiri in the Escravos area of Warri South-West Local Government Area to sustain dialogue to achieve a win-win outcome with the Federal Government, over pending demands.

In an earlier conference, the Gbaramatu Kingdom in a statement by its spokesman, Chief Godspower Gbenekama, threatened to shut down oil operations in its area with an ultimatum expiring Thursday, over alleged Federal Government nonchalance to long-standing demands.

Also, the Itsekiri citing similar demands in a statement by Mr. Besidone Samuel, spokesman of Itsekiri Oil/Gas Producing Communities, said if the Escravos Gas Revolution Industrial Park, Deep Sea Port in Gbaramatu, Warri South-West LGA, Omadino-Escravos Road projects are not kick-started, including stopping the recent FG-announced bidding round for 57 marginal oil fields, it would shut down oil operations in Itsekiri communities.

But addressing newsmen in Warri, on Wednesday, Deputy Governor of Delta State, Mr. Kingsley Otuaro, who stood in for Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, appealed to Ijaw of Gbaramatu and Itsekiri people “to rescind the planned shut down of oil operations for a win-win strategy/outcome which the Delta State government was envisaging in its engagement with the FG.

“I personally appeal that the oil communities consider jettisoning the idea of shutting down oil operations, as a birthday gift to our governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, and to enable his team more time to deepen discussions with the appropriate authorities.

“I want to thank the Itsekiri and the Ijaw of Gbaramatu for peacefully airing their demands for worldwide attention. But I think that resorting now to shutting down oil operations by Ijaw and Itsekiri in place of the present peaceful path would be seen as confrontational, owing to the present financial situation of the Federal Government, which the Gbaramatu people acknowledged in their own protest.

“It would additionally cripple Federal Government capacity to address our clearly legitimate demands and erase outside sympathy for the cause.

“It could lead our vulnerable people, deprived of world sympathy, to be on collision course with the Federal Government.

“The world has been watching the commendably peaceful protests by Gbaramatu Ijaw and the Itsekiri, over pending demands. It has noted the unfair deprivation of the Modular Floating Dockyard (MFD) for training of students of the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko.

“The demand for Escravos Processing Zone (EPZ) or Gas Revolution Industrial Park project is a legitimate quest for benefiting from oil industry-funded by their oil.

“The world knows it is unconscionable to deny the oil-producing people Oil Mining Licenses (OML) and Marginal Fields generously given to others to their exclusion.

“The world is persuaded that it is immoral to keep the communities in darkness while their oil powers never-dimming lights in premises of the oil companies around.

“Let me assure our people that results-producing dialogue is a process, not an event. Let us keep peace and faith.

“Dialogue has yielded some fruits however slow. The FG has awarded the electrification project that will benefit about 50 communities in the said Escravos area and work is ongoing but need be expedited.

“Delta State Government Committee on the Modular Floating Dockyard chaired by myself, Commissioner for Finance, as well as Bosin Ebikeme, Kelly Penawou among others, has not closed discussions with the FG on sending the Modular Floating Dockyard to Okerenkoko area for the intended purpose, while presently supporting the FG efforts in running the Nigerian Maritime University.

“As a government, we also made helicopter-assisted aerial tour/observations of communities impacted by oil pollution ahead of the dying fishes saga mentioned in the Gbaramatu people’s protest, and commissioned soil/water samples for laboratory investigations to enable us push a strong case for environmental remediation,” Otuaro pleaded.

Vanguard

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

Chuka is an experienced certified web developer with an extensive background in computer science and 18+ years in web design &development. His previous experience ranges from redesigning existing website to solving complex technical problems with object-oriented programming. Very experienced with Microsoft SQL Server, PHP and advanced JavaScript. He loves to travel and watch movies.

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