Notwithstanding pockets of incidents of insecurity in the country, the Federal Government, has assured that it would continue to work hard towards ensuring the safety and peaceful atmosphere for International Oil Companies, IOCs, operating in the Niger Delta region.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who gave the assurance while receiving the United States, US, Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard, who paid him a working visit in his office in Abuja, said, the government’s determinations in guaranteeing peaceful atmosphere for IOCs and other companies working in the region to operate will be mutually beneficial not just to the companies that are coming in but also to the host communities.
Meanwhile, the United States, US, Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, has said that her country was looking forward to the early passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, noting that the PIB becoming a reality can be a predictable basis for companies who are operating in that sphere in a predictable sort of expectations for the population of the Niger Delta in that regards.
According to Akpabio, As at today, you can see the very difficult challenges in the country, the Niger Delta region is probably one of the most peaceful. This ministry is mandated by Mr. President to work very hard to ensure that the peace remains and the IOCs and the other companies working in the region have a very peaceful atmosphere to operate because it will be mutually beneficial not just to the companies that are coming in but also to the host communities.
“On the issue of the PIB, I believe the Senate and the national assembly is addressing that very seriously.
“And then on the issue of the peace in the Niger Delta region, we are also working very hard. We are engaging stakeholders and we are also engaging the youths.
“But do not mind some of the things you see on social media because even the war in Rwanda I understand came from a rumour that this person has killed this person and before you knew it over a million people had died.
“So you must find a way to suggest how we can curb some of the excesses that goes into social media and we must distill the information to actually find the truth.
“The Niger Delta region has been quite peaceful, we have had infiltration of recent from the South Eastern region particularly those people agitating for what they will not have because we must remain one nation; from IPOB and from Boko Haram infiltration and all that in some of the areas but the government is up to its responsibilities and the government is working very hard to ensure a peaceful nation.
“The US Embassy is always very concerned when something happens in Nigeria, I think other embassies should also be concerned because with the population of over 200 million people if there is a refugee crisis in Nigeria, West Africa cannot contain us, the population of Nigeria double the population of all the countries in West Africa put together.
“So it is in the interest of the global community for Nigeria to remain peaceful because we can have multiplier effect negatively on the economies and even the wellbeing and the social structures of other countries.
“For the parastatal under the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the NDDC, we are currently doing the forensic audit of the NDDC; there was need for that because even the staff who had worked there and retired are very excited that for the first time there pensions are going to be guaranteed.
“The way thing were going, there were not sure they were going to get their pension.
“We have submitted two interim reports so far through the Chief of Staff to the Mr. President for evaluation and we are hoping that in the next three months maximum we should be out of the forensic audit.
“And as to the issue of formation of board for the NDDC of which some people have sponsored a lot of write-ups, it is not an issue. We have had a board for 19years they didn’t see much on ground.
“The good example is the 26 years old structure which is the headquarter building which was not completed by any board and which no board even visited since 1996 after OMPADEC started the structure.
“But in 2016 this administration was determined to bring it to an end by awarding the contract and again it was abandoned in 2017 but when we came on board in August 2019 we took up the project and to the glory of God today that project is completed.