Honourable of Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (HMSPR), Chief Timipre Sylva (left) and NNPC GMD, Mallam Mele Kyari (right) arriving Kula Kingdom, Asari-Toru Local Government of Rivers State, in furtherance of Stakeholders’ Visit of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 25 Communities and Facilities in the area.
For some time in some parts of Niger Delta, oil communities are at the mercy of environment degradation and lack of basic amenities even though there had been exploration activities.
An example is a recent disagreement three years ago of the host communities, an international oil company and the federal government which resulted to a loss of at least N1.7 billion within two years.
At present, production has resumed due to peaceful resolution of the contending resource.
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari said the priority of the government “is peace for the community not for oil production, but we know that ultimately, when peace comes oil production will come back and we can see the return of about 35000 barrels oil production per day.”
On his part, the Minister for State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, told the communities that “We just came here to tell you that you are not alone that the federal government is with you.”
The host communities had insisted that the international oil company relinquish its hold on the oil field to Balema Oil, an indigenous company claiming that the oil has not benefitted the communities.
An elder in the community said the most interesting aspect is not just re-opening of the oilfield for operations but there are some people in charge of maintenance, employment and they see to the development that will be made to the community, “that is what we have been struggling for.”
Founder of Balema Oil, Jack Rich Tien, he made it known that the “GMD said, if the community fail to develop, he is going to him and his younger brother responsible and community should hold him too as the GMD of NNPC responsible as well, should there be a failure. That is an important statement.”
The peace agreement will ultimately benefit Nigerian government to the tune of 40000 barrels of oil per day. For the host communities, they expect development to translate to more cleaner waters, better environment, even long after the oil dries up.
The lesson of this ordeal is that when communities are satisfied and live peacefully, the environment is conducive enough for investors