TRACKING >>Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has said he will develop stakeholder communities in Oil Mining Lease (OML 25).
A statement by his media aide, Simeon Nwakaudu, said the governor would promote a conducive investment environment.
He said Wike pledged to create the right environment for international and local investors to operate
The statement reads: “To Governor Wike, the interest of Rivers State is paramount … he takes actions to enhance the overall interest of the state. The facts on OML 25 are very clear – the facility was shutdown in 2017 by some persons who were allegedly primed by an interest group.
‘’The governor made no attempt to intervene since this interest group claimed that an indigenous operator had also applied for the operating licence. In October 2018, the APC-led Federal Government, through the NNPC, renewed the Operating Licence of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC). This operating licence will remain valid for the next 20 years.
“The governor’s position is simple – due process of the law must be observed… The company with the operating licence for OML 25 should be allowed to carry out its legitimate business. If the indigenous firm is able to obtain the operating licence from the Federal Government, then the state will fully back it.
“But at present, the operating licence of the SPDC has been renewed by the Federal Government. This renewal was not facilitated by the Rivers State governor; all the governor did was to promote a conducive investment environment in Rivers State.
‘’Governor Wike has continued to create the right environment for international and local investors to operate.
“The governor will never lay credence to illegal acquisition of businesses under any guise. There are laid down procedures for operating any oil facility.
“The Chairman of Akuku-Toru Local Government Area, Rowland Sekibo, at a meeting convened by Governor Wike, said Belema Oil management created the impression that they bought the OML 25 from SPDC, but the company refused to transfer the operational right.
He said at a meeting with stakeholders at NNPC Abuja, it was discovered that the licence of OML 25 was still under the ownership of Shell.
“According to Sekibo, though the owner of Belema Oil is from the area, it was illegal to shutdown the facility to armtwist the system to sell it to Belema Oil, as such action would negatively affect other businessmen with oil operating licences in other states.
“Stakeholder Communities of OML 25 and SPDC have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the reopening of the closed flow station, and the payment of outstanding funds owed Stakeholder Communities under the extant Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMOU). The MoU also mandated Shell to pay N1.36 billion into a dedicated account.
“The governor has said he will not support any company not to carry out their corporate social responsibilities to their host communities. However, communities must not take laws into their hands. They must not stop production by the operating companies. Such actions will negatively affect the finances of the Federal Government, the state and the local government areas. However, where companies fail to act within the expectations of the communities, the government will mediate through the Steering Committee on Cluster Development Boards.”