The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on Thursday warned that he would no longer tolerate the shutting down of oil production facilities by communities in the state.
He handed this warning at a meeting with Chairmen of Cluster Development Boards in Asari-Toru, Akuku-Toru and Degema Local Government Areas as well as oil companies and security agencies at the state’s Government House in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
Wike warned that under no circumstances should communities take the law into their hands by preventing oil production companies from carrying out their duties.
He also directed the immediate revival of the State Steering Committee on Cluster Development Boards responsible for intervening between oil companies and communities.
According to Wike: “I 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.”
The governor also stated that in cases where companies failed to act within the expectations of the communities, the State Government will mediate through the Steering Committee on Cluster Development Boards.
“It is important that we do not allow crisis to occur in the communities. The Aeroton rig in one community was seized.
“That rig should be allowed to work. I called this meeting because of the concerns raised by the operating companies in the area,” he said.
Wike said the Steering Committee on Cluster Development Boards would have the Permanent Secretary, Community Development, Security Agencies, Community Development Clusters and oil companies as members.
The governor said the committee will meet at regular intervals to address challenges in order to forestall escalation of conflicts.
He regretted that most problems in the Niger Delta are caused by oil companies who patronise and engage with criminal elements to the disadvantage of the host communities.
In his remark, former Commissioner of Environment, Samuel Horsfall pointed out that though the oil companies knew the right things to do, they have never taken the right steps.