Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has declared that the state government's investment in Oil Mining License (OML) 11 is aimed at promoting the interest of host stakeholder communities and ensure peace for the operation of the oil facility.
Speaking during a Solidarity Visit by the Ogbakor Etche on Tuesday at the Government House, Port Harcourt, Governor Wike said the efforts of the Rivers State Government are geared towards ensuring that the communities get the best from the acquisition of OML 11.
He said: "What Rivers State Government wants is for the interest of our state to be protected. Whoever that is coming to take over will have the interest of the communities protected.
"When the communities are part owners of OML 11, there will be peace. But some people sit down and engage in unnecessary propaganda".
Governor Wike said that the acquisition of OML 11 is the height of resource control struggle.
He urged Ogoni people to appreciate the efforts of the Rivers State Government in this regard.
"When you talk about resource control, this is resource control. Instead of Ogoni people to thank us, they are allowing criminals, charlatans to go on radio and talk, with their leaders pretending not to be aware, when they know.
"They talk as if OML 11 belongs to them alone, which is not correct. Etche, Bonny, Oyigbo, Ogu/Bolo and Okrika are part of OML 11", he said.
Governor Wike took time to explain the process that led to the acquisition of OML 11. He said that the Rivers State Government stepped in after the High Court ordered the sale of Shell's stakes already attached as part of the enforcement of the court judgment initiated by the Ebubu Community.
On the OML 25 which was eventually given to Shell Petroleum Development Company by the Federal Government, Governor Wike stated that a fraudulent businessman claimed that the Federal Government would grant him the license of the facility. He noted that when it turned out that he was lying, the State Government worked with stakeholder communities to ensure that their interests were protected.
Governor Wike said it turned out that the businessman who sponsored falsehood on OML 25 was merely seeking surveillance and labour supply contracts from Shell Petroleum Development Company.
The Governor assured Etche people that his Administration would always invest in the development of the area. He outlined the projects that will be commissioned in Etche land during the first year of his second term.
He informed the Etche delegation that his administration will revive the Delta Rubber Company through Public Private Partnership.
He added that by May 2020, the Rivers State Government will commission the Cassava Plant. He said that with the commissioning of the Cassava Plant, the Rivers State Government will purchase cassava from farmers at prevailing market prices for processing. He said that way the farmers will be empowered to remain in business.
Earlier, the President-General of Ogbakor Etche, Sir Machy Nwodim commended the Rivers State Government for acquiring the oil facility. He said as part owners of OML 11, Etche Ethnic Nationality views the action as a welcome development.
He appealed to the Rivers State Governor to take a similar action on OML 17, where the bulk of Etche oil is found.
While congratulating the Rivers State Governor on his electoral victory, he called for electronic voting to ensure that credible violence free elections in 2023.
The President-General of Ogbakor Etche urged the Rivers State Governor to sustain his developmental projects in Etche land and initiate new projects.
It will recalled that the Rivers State Government fully acquired Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) 45% interest in Oil Mining Lease (OML) 11 of the State following its auction by the High Court.