Communities playing host to multi-national oil companies have been warned against acts of violence capable of disrupting oil operations in the state.
The Commissioner for Energy, Barr. Francis Ikio handed down the warning while speaking at a stakeholder meeting between government, the Nigerian petroleum Development Company (NPDC/SIPEC), Geomarine Systems Ltd and representatives of the host communities of OML 66, held at the Conference Hall of Ididie Hotel, Yenagoa.
Noting that government places a very high premium on the maintenance of peace Barr. Ikio advised the host communities of OML 66 around Nembe/Brass axis of the state to channel
whatever grievance they may have, to the appropriate government authority.
The Commissioner, who charged oil companies operating in the state and their host communities to see themselves as development partners, assured the host communities to OML 66 that government would ensure that a thorough environmental impact assessment (EIA) is carried out by the oil company before commencement of work in the area.
He urged multi-national oil companies to always protect the environment in which they operate, just as he charged them not to abdicate their corporate social responsibility by applying
the same standard they apply in their home countries. In his remarks, the Project Manager, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, Mr. Steve Ogunowo who called for cooperation from the host communities thanked the communities involved for sending full representation during the interactive forum, noting that it is a sign of good things to come.
Mr. Ogunowo however, appeal led to the communities to liaise with the company whenever the company falls short of its responsibilities.
Also speaking, the Managing Director, Geomarine System Ltd Chief Nmma Okezie noted that they are engaged by NPCD to carry out Seismic Operation in the area which cuts across Nembe and Brass local government areas of the state. He noted that Geomarine is an indigenous company based in Port Harcourt with a notable track record of environmental and human friendly operations.
He assured that during their operations both skilled and unskilled workers would be absorbed from the communities and compensation would be duly paid where necessary. Chief Okezie called for understanding from the communities, stressing that the company would not disappoint for fail in its obligations.
In his remark, the representative of the commandant of the JTF in the state, Ltd Commander I.C. Ketebu described security of life and property as the bed rock of any development.
He call for both the communities and the company to work together to ensure peace in the area. Also in attendance at the meeting were the representatives of the state police commissioner and the Director SSS in the state.