Governors Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State yesterday doused the rising tension over alleged non-inclusion of host communities in the sale of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) stakes in OML 26 and OML 30.
According to a statement, Uduaghan, at a meeting in Asaba with traditional rulers and opinion leaders from the communities which cut across Isoko, Urhobo and Ndokwa ethnic groups, said there was no need to resort to violence as their grievances would be personally taken before the Presidency.
The governor was said to have promised that the issue of ownership of the joint venture and 50 per cent equity participation would be tabled before the Presidency and the outcome made known to the communities.
Uduaghan particularly charged them not to engage in acts that could stop oil producing companies from operating. He called on the leaders and stakeholders in the oil sector to re-strategise, especially when dealing with security issues, so that there would be enduring peace in the area.
“Let us allow peace to reign in oil producing communities. Let us not prevent oil companies from production. Traditional rulers should ensure that there is peace because without peace, no production can go on”, he stated.
Besides, the governor called on Delta people to stop actions that are capable of distracting the state government so that it could be focused on development issues.
He explained that distracting the state government is counter-productive as it will not only slow down government activities, but consume meaningful resources that could be used in transforming the state.
Earlier, a spokesman of one of the communities, Chief Charles Akide, “expressed dissatisfaction and disappointment over the leasing out of oil wells in their area to other companies without the involvement of the communities.”
Akide said it was against natural justice for oil companies operating in their area to lease out oil wells, especially as the communities have the capacity to produce and refine crude oil.
He, therefore, appealed to the governor “to intervene and get the Federal Government to revisit the issue so that the communities could participate actively in