Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Government has disclosed it will sign a Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) with Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) on the Gbarain/Ubie gas plant, a multi-million dollar project, which is the largest investment in Africa.
Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (rtd), who disclosed this during a meeting with the Irish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Sean Hoy, in Yenagoa, expressed the government’s preparedness to partner the international community, in seeking ways the state can benefit maximally from the oil and gas industry.
Jonah, while lamenting the non-participation of Bayelsans in the oil and gas industry, declared it was a major cause of agitations in the Niger Delta area.
The deputy governor said: “We are not carried along in the oil and gas industry as the Niger Delta peoples’ participation in the industry is almost zero.”
Jonah, who lauded the Irish envoy’s efforts to prevail on oil companies towards giving the Niger Delta people a fair share of the oil proceeds, said the state government would liaise with them, in resolving issues with the multinational oil firms.
Describing the devastation of the environment by the activities of oil companies as enormous and unquantifiable, Jonah said a study is being carried out by experts on the extent of damage to the environment and the people.
The deputy governor, who sought the collaboration of Ireland in the development of the Agge Deep Sea Port, education and Eco-Industrial park to build an economy beyond oil, also urged the international community to monitor the forthcoming general election nationwide.
In his remarks, Hoy said they were in Bayelsa to interact with the government and its people at the grassroots, as regards security issues.
Hoy, who commended the state government for its efforts at sustaining peace, attributed the high oil production level to the current stability in the Niger Delta.
“I was here in August 2016. My predecessor never came to this area because he was afraid of insecurity and I believe if you are afraid of insecurity, you will never learn. It is important for us to understand the dynamics of the Niger Delta. This is the economic heart of Nigeria.
I want to congratulate all those involved in stabilising that situation because Nigeria is now almost at peak production in terms of oil production on a daily basis.