By Yemi Akintomide
Mele Kyari, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s Chief Executive Officer/Group Managing Director, led a group from the oil and gas industry to the Niger Delta on Thursday, to seek assistance for the safety of the country’s oil and gas assets.
Kyari, who was accompanied by top NNPC and Chevron Nigeria Limited executives, paid separate visits to the Pere of Gbaramatu kingdom, His Royal Majesty, Oboro-Gbaraun II, Aketekpe, Agadagba, and other respected traditional rulers in the Niger Delta, including the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse III.
The NNPC CEO/GMD said at a meeting in Oporoza, the Gbaramatu Kingdom’s headquarters, that apart from synergy among the right people, the Communities and institutions within the region, the protection of oil and gas facilities was vital.
“Mr. President has directed and I have his consent to assure you that employment to the Niger Delta, particular in new institutions will be done. In consultation with your royal majesties and High Chief Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo.
“Your Royal Majesty, many things must happen to bring lasting peace to this community and to bring development and prosperity to the Niger Delta. And we cannot achieve this except with cooperation with the right people, except there is synergy with the right people, except there is synergy with all institutions and people that are involved in all the process.
“We appreciate the enormous work and support that you are doing, and this will bring two things. Once we engage and agree on a process in making sure that the facilities that will create the wealth are safe.
“We are to have a process where the Communities are directly engaged and to also make sure that we empower the young people in the Niger Delta and also empower companies that are capable to create all the facilities that are necessary, then I can tell you that the promises that we talked about can be possible for all of us.”
He also said that the Corporation will work with its partners in the oil and gas industry to equip the Maritime University.
“I am aware of the issue that has been raised on the Maritime University and we are talking with the management of the University as NNPC to see how we can support them.
“More importantly, our partners are here, I’m speaking on behalf of all of them and we will write the industry to see how we can support the Maritime university.”
He noted that the NNPC will continue to work with stakeholders to bring development to the Ijaw nation.
“Your majesty, I can confirm to you that we will work very closely with the Ijaw nation and all the High Chiefs that are here and your Royal Majesties and High Chief Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo, so that we can bring the best thing that is possible for this community.
“We are very happy to be here, we are very honoured to be here your Royal Majesty, take it that I am your son and we will do everything to bring progress to this community,” he added.
In his response, the Pere of Gbaramatu Kingdom, His Royal Majesty, Oboro-Gbaraun II, through the Fiyewei of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Chief Godspower Gbenekama, said they are delighted to receive him in the oil-rich Gbaramatu Kingdom, noting that the visit is long overdue in light of Gbaramatu Kingdom’s significant contribution to the oil and gas industry, as well as the nation’s social,
The Monarch reaffirms that the kingdom of Gbaramatu is pleasant, peaceful, hospitable, and development-friendly.
He emphasized that oil multinationals’ efforts in their communities do not reflect their contribution to national growth and peace.
“The 3percent funds for host communities in the Act is grossly inadequate. The royal fathers and the entire Niger Delta have apoken. The least we had expected was 10percent.
“The House of Representatives indicated 5percent but when the joint House met, even the 5percent was jettisoned for 3percent.
“We have fought dearly for peace in the Niger Delta region and so for a people to sit in Abuja in the comfort of their offices and dish out things that are not palatable to a people that have kept this country together, and also feeding this country for years is very unpalatable.
“It is on that note that the royal majesties in the Niger Delta feel that we have been shortchanged. So we plead with you (Kyari) because you can make input on our behalf.”
Also, the Ovie of Idjerhe Kingdom, His Royal Majesty, King Monday Obukohwo Whiskey, said that President Muhammadu Buhari means well for the country but added that thr problem was those implementing his polices.
King Whiskey regretted that the issue of the Nigerian Maritime University in Okerenkoko has been politicised.
“I know that you (Kyari) came here to see things for yourself. Our brother GMD our people are suffering and it’s not supposed to be so. Let your media department in NNPC take visuals of communities in the Niger Delta and see whether we are actually part of this country.
“The companies operating here regard us as slaves. I have Seplat operating over 20 oil wells in my kingdom, but I am happy to report to you that I have 18 people working in Seplat and they are all contract staff.
“We have our children with Masters and PhD degrees in management, geology, geosciences and engineering, what other certificates do you need?
“Our people are suffering, see what you can do to ameliorate the plight of our plight. So you can open a new page in the region, a page of equity, fairness and justice.”