By Ifeanyi Olannye
Asaba – Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta on Wednesday warned those formenting troubles in the state over oil installation surveillance contracts to desist in the interest of the nation’s economy.
Okowa gave the warning while addressing some youths from OML 30 host communities and some youths agitating over the Federal Government amnesty programme, who protested at the Government House, Asaba.
“I want to advise that whosoever is plotting against the people, those who are benefiting and through the process of surveillance contracts are being empowered, should allow Delta remain peaceful.
“This is because, in peace, we will be able to produce and export more crude oil and through that export, the nation and the states gain.
“It is our hope that nobody, especially as the oil prices are going down, should take any action that will reduce the quantity of oil that we are currently producing,” he said.
The governor, however, called on the protesters to remain peaceful, adding that his administration would take necessary actions to address their grievances.
“I want to thank you and appreciate you, our youths, for the way you have put yourself together.
“This protest is happening today that we are holding our Security Council meeting, and the security agencies are here.
“The security agencies have been working hard with the support of our people and our youths to keep the Trans Forcados line safe.
“We thank God that because of the safety of that pipeline, the oil production of this nation has increased.
“We have held series of meetings with stakeholders and we have long agreed to the fact that it is the best to secure our pipelines when we are in charge by ourselves.
“Since June 2017 the Trans Forcados line has been open and functional and our oil production and export has continued to increase and there has been no complaint.
“I will find it very disturbing if a new contract is being awarded not to talk about awarding the said contract under a higher cost.
“I do not think that an action that will lead to the disruption of our oil production and export is something that will be welcome,” he added.
Okowa thanked the protesters for the information they had passed to government promising that it would be acted upon as quickly as possible to ensure that there would be no disruption to the progress made so far.
The Spokesman of the protesters, Mr Tennyson Oriunu, recalled that on the Nov. 8, close to a thousand angry youths held a peaceful protest in Asaba.
Oriunu said the protesters included “ex-agitators” from Ijaw, Urhobo, Itsekiri and Isoko ethnic nationalities and hosts communities to the OML 30 facilities.
“We were here to peacefully complain about the directives of some companies to start another war in our communities and in Delta.
“They came to the state to hijack the surveillance contract of the Trans-Forcados Pipeline, in one of the shadiest deals you may have heard about,” he said.
He called on government to intervene to avoid crisis in the state as a result of the re-awarding of the surveillance contracts to people who were not familiar with the terrain. (NAN)