Bayelsa Govt. urges harmony between communities, oil firms

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By Nathan Nwakamma

Yenagoa, Oct. 16, 2020 The Bayelsa Government on Friday said that an investment-friendly atmosphere for oil firms and other companies was fundamental to its economic prosperity agenda.

The Deputy Governor of Bayelsa, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, made the assertion while addressing representatives of Onuebum community in Ogbia Local Government Area and Sterling Global Oil Ltd at a meeting in Government House, Yenagoa.

Ewhrudjakpo said that a smooth relationship between companies and their host communities was fundamental to the accrual of numerous benefits and revenue generation.

He listed the benefits to include revenue generation to the state, job creation and stimulation of economic activities in the host communities in particular and the state in general.

Ewhrudjakpo commended both parties for embracing dialogue to iron out disagreements and expressed confidence that all areas of difference would be addressed within the shortest possible time.

He directed the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Konbowei Benson, to lead other relevant government officials to meet with both Onuebum community and Sterling Global Oil with a view to finding a common ground on the areas of disagreement

He also directed that the government delegation should be giving him update and report within one week.

The deputy governor said that government was committed to providing an enabling environment for oil companies and other investments in the state, while protecting the rights and privileges of the people.

“We felt we should meet today, have the opportunity to interact and look at the issues. Sometimes the immediate may look uncomfortable but the next may be more comfortable.

“If we stop seeing the glory ahead because we have been soaked with tears in our eyes; tears caused by some unpleasant experiences in the past, we may not get it right,” he said in a statement by his Media Aide, Mr Doubara Atasi.

“We have had communities who because of their own actions have driven away oil companies.

“But they regretted at the end of the day because their neighbouring community accepted them (oil companies) and reaped the benefits that are attached to such cordiality.”

Also, the Commissioner for Mineral Resources, Dr Ebieri Jones, called on both parties to show reasonableness in their demands and offers, as well as shun the temptation of focusing on only immediate gains.

In his presentation, the Paramount Ruler of Onuegbum Community, King Kine Osain, expressed the willingness of his people to cooperate with Sterling Global Oil company to the extent that their rights were accorded them.

The Vice-President of Sterling Global Oil Ltd, Mr Sandeep Singh, applauded Onuegbum community for the warm reception accorded them but pleaded with the people to review the valuation cost downward to enable the company commence operations without further delay.

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