Ahead of the relocation of headquarters of multinational oil companies to the Niger Delta region, Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, yesterday set the ball rolling for their return to the state.
Reports said that the governor had commenced aggressive engagement sessions with oil producing communities in the state as part of the roadmap for the actualisation of sustainable peace and enhanced working environment for the oil firms.
The companies that left in the wake of militants’ hostility in the Niger Delta exercised fear of return following the relocation order given by Vice-President, Yemi Oshibajo, during his peace mission to the state.
The governor, represented by Commissioner for Oil and Gas, Mr. Mofe Pirah, told representatives of cluster communities of Odimodi, Yokri, Sokebolou, Obotobo and Ogulagha, all in Burutu Local Government, to give peace a chance.
Leading a delegation on behalf of the governor, including the Special Adviser to the Governor on Niger Delta, Chief Kelly Penawou, Vice- Chairman of Burutu Local Government, Hon. Samuel Peremoke, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Politics, Hon. Godknows Angele, Pirah said the session was not only complementing the Federal Government’s quests for peace in the region, but to encourage the return of the multinationals that left the state in the heat of the crisis.
He said: “Several companies have relocated from the areas in recent times and the only reason they give for their action was that the environment was no longer safe for them to operate as their workers were being kidnapped and equipment vandalized.”
“The emergency at hand is to create enabling environment for the return of the multinational companies to the areas to help address the poverty in the land and grow the socio-economic sector in the communities and there must be a sustained synergy among all critical development partners.
He explained that the Ministry of Oil and Gas and the Office of the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice had been mandated to always interface with communities aimed erasing all forms of hostilities between companies and their host communities, saying that every agitation can be settled through a round table engagement.