Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday held two separate meetings over the recent blowing up of pipelines conveying crude oil and gas and threatening the operations of two of the nation’s refineries and power plants.
The militants had attacked Chevron’s Okan offshore production platform around Escravos in Warri, Delta State, a development that led to the shutdown of the facility by the oil major.
The first meeting had the service chiefs, and the Minister of State and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu and other key government officials in attendance.
Similarly the Bayelsa State governor, Sirieka Dickson, led the prominent traditional rulers of from Bayelsa State led by the Amayanabo of Toun Brass, Bayelsa State, King Alfred Diete-Spiff. representatives of oil majors in the country and the service chiefs in attendance.
Firms such as Shell, Total, AGIP, NLNG and Chevron among others were represented. The meeting lasted into the night Dickson and Diete-Spiff joined the meeting with the oil representatives which commenced latter after the the first meeting as at the time of filing this report.
It will be recalled that last week, Chevron’s Okan offshore production platform around Escravos in Warri, Delta State was blown up, a development that led to the shutdown of the facility by the oil major.
Dickson after the meeting which ended way past 9 pm said, the meeting was on the invitation of Vice President to discuss taxation issues with oil companies operating in the state.
The governor who said this was not the time to have pipeline vandalism and disruptions of oil production, added that they resolved to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari at a yet to be determined date.
He said, “First, we are here because the Vice-President took time to invite the state government and the representatives of oil companies that are operating in Bayelsa State because of the issues the government has with them in respect of taxation principally.
“But we have also used this opportunity to talk about the need for an enabling secured environment for the oil companies to continue with their operations.
“This is a time that we cannot afford to have any disruption, not to talk of vandalism of critical national assets. This is a time that all hands should be on the deck.
“All of us as stakeholders are concerned and we have agreed to work together to ensure that production is not disrupted and that all partners should be responsible and do what we need to do.
“I want to use this opportunity to say that yesterday at the meeting of the South South governors in Asaba, this issue was discussed; the need for all of us to work together in the Niger Delta, compare notes and collaborate with the Federal Government was discussed.
“We agreed to have a meeting with the President. We have conveyed that message and we are looking forward to a date that will be convenient for the President.
“The meeting will be on how we can jointly protect strategic national assets, discuss our common and shared responsibilities for security and law and order”.
The militant group in a statement on its website said, “To keep to our promise, the three days ultimatum given to Chief Government Ekpemupolo has elapsed and he failed to apologise to the Niger Delta Avengers, at 10:00 pm Thursday, May 5, 2016, our strike team 4 hit the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation crude and gas lines.
“The crude line feeds the Warri and Kaduna refineries respectively, while the gas line feeds the Lagos and Abuja electricity power supply. With this development the Warri and Kaduna refineries will be shut down and all cities that depend on the gas line for power will all be in total darkness like the creeks of the Niger Delta.”