The Chairman of the Bayelsa State Council of Traditional Rulers Council and ruler of Ekpetiama Kingdom, King Bubaraye Dakolo, Agada IV, on Sunday advocated greater participation of host communities in oil and gas value chain as a panacea to peace.
He said that until host communities benefits and have a say in the management of oil and gas resources in their domain, the Niger Delta region will not know peace.
Dakolo said it was morally wrong for the federal government to give out oil blocs to people who do not suffer the adverse effects of exploration and exploitation without the consent of the indigenes who bear the brunt of crude oil production.
The monarch who stated this while speaking at the lighting of the torch of Oil and Gas Stakeholders Festival OGSFEST 2022, at the Conference Hall of the Traditional Rulers Council Secretariate in Yenagoa.
He noted with regrets that the community where oil was first discovered in commercial quantity, and the entire Niger Delta have nothing to show for, six decades after the exploration and production of crude oil.
“And this strong message is to the Nigerian State, you cannot steal of what is ours and expect to sleep, it is not because we don’t want you to sleep, it is because of your attitude, so if you want to sleep, if the Nigerian state wants to make it easy for law enforcement agents, then they should give to us what is ours.
“Let us manage what is ours, let us be a major voice in determining how to use what is ours and then everyone will go to sleep.
“You cannot take our kingdoms and give to other people in the name of oil blocs without our consent, knowledge, without our involvement and you want to sleep well, you can’t sleep well, it’s natural.
“We deserved to see sixty years of oil in Ogbia Kingdom, in Bayelsa State and in the Niger Delta, we are tired of having our oil monies as refineries in Equatorial Guinea, as streets and hotels in Europe or stacked away in the Swiss Banks, and not available for our use.” Dakolo said.
In her address, the Convener of OGSFEST 2020, Ms Onome Wilkinson, said the Oil and Gas Stakeholders Festival Torch Ceremony is designed as the flag off of the “OGSFEST UYO 2022” to be held at in Akwa Ibom State capital in August.
She said OGSFEST, through a funfair approach, is aimed at promoting peace, unity and a symbiotic relationship amongst host communities and the Nigerian Government towards achieving unbridled economic development of oil producing areas and the entire country.
“We will encapsulate under festive mood, a realistic view of the narrative of host Communities, the sincere efforts of the Government and the tangible socio-corporate interventions of both NOC’S and IOC’S towards the development of the oil rich Niger Delta Region over the years.
“The Festival amongst others will showcase essay competitions, epic dramas, colorfully packaged in a series of command performances by selected state cultural troupes, side by side with round table discussions on quite a number of plenaries bordering on environment, oil spillage, PIA and
more,” Wilkinson said.