Governor Emmauel Uduaghan (right) in hand shake with H.R.M. Oharisi II, the Ovie Ughelli, with is the Ovie of Emede Kingdom, H.R.M. Johnson Egbo Ewhiru II During the Governor?s meeting with traditional rulers from some Oil Producing Areas in the State in Govt House, Asaba. Pix: Bripin Enarusai

Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State yesterday in Asaba doused the increasing tension over the non-inclusion of host communities in the sale of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) stakes in OML 26 and OML 30.

At a meeting with traditional rulers and opinion leaders from the communities which cut across Isoko, Urhobo and Ndokwa ethnic groups, the Governor said there was no need to resort to violence as their grievances would be personally taken before the presidency.

In particular, he said the issue of the ownership of the joint venture and 50% equity participation would be tabled before the presidency and the outcome made known to the communities.

He said: ?I want to assure that I will seek audience first with the minister of Petroleum and then with the Mr. President. Iwill let them know that this is the position of the communities which is generating some tension in the oil producing communities?.

Dr. Uduaghan particularly charged them not to engage in acts that could stop Oil Producing Companies from operating.

He called on the Leaders and stakeholders in the Oil Sector to re-strategise especially when dealing with security issues so that there would be enduring peace in the area.

?Let us allow peace to reign in Oil Producing Communities. Let us not prevent Oil Companies from production. Traditional rulers should ensure that there is peace because without peace no production can go on?, he stated.

Besides, the Governor also called on Deltans to stop actions that were capable of distracting the state government so that it could be focused on development issues.

Dr. Uduaghan explained that distracting the state government was counter-productive as it will not only slow down government activities but consume meaningful resources that could be used in transforming the state.

The Governor who said his administration was not comfortable with distracting tactics of some individuals put it this way: ?Don?t distract my government so that you can benefit a lot from it. Tell those destabilising the system that enough is enough. It is not in the interest of the state and people to continue to distract government.?

Earlier, a spokesman of one of the communities, Chief Charles Akide expressed dissatisfaction and disappointment over the leasing out of oil wells in their area to other companies without the involvement of the communities.

Chief Akide said it was against natural justice for oil companies operating in their area to lease out oil wells especially as the communities have the capacity to produce and refine crude oil.

He therefore appealed to the Governor to intervene and get the Federal Government to revisit the issue so that the communities could participate actively in the affairs of their God-given resources.

Speaking also, a former Governorship candidate in the State and legal adviser to some of the communities, Chief Moses Kragha lent support to Chief Akide?s request for the involvement of oil producing communities in the leasing oil wells.

Chief Kragha explained that the communities do not only have the technical depth but also the resources to participate in oil production.

According to him, the involvement of the communities will calm tension, create employment for the people and give them a sense of belonging which in turn will ensure a cordial relationship between the communities and the oil companies as well as enabling environment for maximum production.

He appealed to the governor to also intervene in the exercise so that oil producing communities were not short changed.

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