Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, and former President Olusegun Obasanjo have commended President Muhammadu Buhari for granting twenty-two licenses for refineries, one which was being actualized in the state.
They spoke Saturday during the foundation laying ceremony of Aziken Petroleum Refinery Project at Obunagha Gbarian, Yenagoa, an exercise which Obasanjo, who is in the state on a 3-day working visit on the invitation of the governor, commissioned.
The refinery is billed to take off in 2019.
“We need more of this investment for our people to be part of it. At anytime I have opportunity as a governor of a federating unit, I will use the opportunity to commend President Muhammadu Buhari and tell him that we need more of this,” Dickson said.
He added, “The investment will take off all the stress and pressures on us; I’ve signed the Certificate of Occupancy for 99 years in line with the Land Use Act. I do this every week and one of the first things I did when I came to Office was to liberalise land”.
On his part, Obasanjo, while commending President Buhari for giving out 22 licenses for refineries, said, “In 1956, the colonial powers couldn’t turn the hands of the clock. If they could, our independence would have been deferred by few years.
“I understand that Buhari gave out 22 licenses. But this is the only one that is being actualised. Before then, we gave out 18 licenses. Not one was actualised. We thank Buhari for giving four more licenses than we gave. He’s lucky that one is being actualized”.
Governor Dickson also demanded that more oil blocs be given to the oil-producing areas because they are “the ancestral properties of Niger Delta.”
He called on the multinational oil companies to heed the directive by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to relocate to the Niger Delta.
“We are talking of ownership of oil blocks because that is a legitimate demand. We are yet to see the demands by the Federal Government that oil companies should relocate to the Niger Delta.
“I don’t know of any business which justifies pipelines crisis crossing several areas for building refineries while they haven’t built refineries from the source of crude oil.
“In all the all-producing areas around the world, the activities of those companies are located where the resources come from. We must examine our own conduct and what we do. We are waiting for the oil blocks, what the Nigerian government sits down and calls oil blocks are in fact and in truth the ancestral properties of the Niger Delta.
“They are pieces of our ancestral properties given away at our expenses. We are not saying others should not be included. But if we are not included, it will be wrong”, he said.
Dickson also commended Obasanjo whose government he said gave Bayelsa State two oil blocks.
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