Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has read out the riot act to communities in the state, saying his government would no longer condone the shutdown of oil production facilities in the state.
Wike gave the warning on Thursday in Port Harcourt 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 Government House.
Wike, who also warned that under no circumstances should communities take the law into their own hands by preventing oil production companies from working, directed the immediate revival of the State Steering Committee on Cluster Development Boards responsible for intervening between the companies and communities.
He said: “I will not support any company not to carry out their corporate social responsibilities to their host communities.
“However, communities must not take the law 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.’’
He said 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.
Speaking further, 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, who further revealed that the committee will meet at regular intervals to address challenges in order to forestall escalation of conflicts, regretted that most problems in the Niger Delta were caused by oil companies that patronised and engaged with criminal elements to the disadvantage of the host communities.
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