Delta Deputy Governor, Mr. Kingsley Otuaro, says that dialogue remains crucial to resolving conflicts between oil companies and their host communities.
Otuaro stated this on Friday shortly after a closed-door meeting with officials of Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, led by the Manager, Asset Management (West), Mr. Mesh Maichibi, at the Government House Annex, Warri.
The Deputy Governor said the meeting was called to resolve brewing dispute between oil-rich Odimodi and Ogulagha communities in Burutu Local Government Area of the state.
He told the communities that peace remained a panacea for meaningful development in any society and advised oil producing communities not to take laws into their hands over issues with oil companies. He, rather, recommended constructive engagement and open dialogue by adopting peace building mechanisms instituted by the state government.
Otuaro further called on the oil-producing communities to protect oil facilities in their domains to help the economy of the state.
He said: “As oil producing communities, do not resort to issuance of ultimatums, threats and destruction of oil facilities but leverage on conflict resolutions and peace building structures established by government to resolve grievances with multinational oil companies.
“This meeting is to address security concerns in the oil operating environment as regards Odimodi and Ogulagha communities with SPDC.
“We have made far reaching decisions that will help to quell the situation and I must tell you that it is a win-win situation for everyone.
Dep Gov. Otuaro continued: “As you know, the Okowa-led administration is people-oriented hence the welfare of the people remains paramount.”
The State Commissioner for Oil and Gas, Prince Emmanuel Amgbaduba, at the meeting, said government would continue to play key role in resolving grievances between oil-producing communities and multinational oil companies.
“We are satisfied with the out come of the meeting, we would continue to talk, because talking to ourselves is the only way out.
“The whole idea of breaching critical facilities in the name of protests will take us back to the old days. We will advise them to be patient and allow all the talks to yield fruit and the benefits will be at the door step of Deltans.” Amgbaduba added.
The meeting had in attendance the Special Advisers to the Governor on Petroleum, Barrister Ernest Ogwezzy, Peace Building and Conflict Resolutiom, Chief Edwin Uzor, among other stakeholders.