Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has called on the Federal Government and multinationals oil companies operating in the state to invest more in building critical infrastructure, especially in Oloibiri community, where the first oil well was discovered in the country.
The governor made the call yesterday during a virtual meeting for the symbolic launch of an Oil and Gas Museum and Research Centre in Oloibiri District in Ogbia Local Government Area of the state. In a statement signed by the Director New Media to the Governor, Kola Oredikpe noted that the call had become imperative in order to give back to Otuabagi/ Otuogidi communities, where crude oil was first discovered in commercial quantities in 1956.
The project with its secretariat, located within the NCDMB Head Office in Yenagoa, involves 40 per cent contribution from PTDF, while NCDMB and SPDC would provide 30 per cent and 20 per cent cost respectively, just as Bayelsa State Government will provide the balance of 10 per cent. Diri, who lauded the project facilitated by the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and supported by four key institutions such as the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Shell Petroleum and Development Company (SPDC) and the Bayelsa State Government, however, said the oil bearing communities deserve better infrastructure to compensate for the long years of neglect amid huge resources being tapped from the community.
The governor said: “We receive this day with a tinge of mixed emotions. This is because naturally, the people of Bayelsa State as guardians and holders of the primary source of wealth of our entire nation deserves not only recognition, but also all the dividends that ought to come with this special status.
“I, therefore, appeal that the Federal Government to throw its full weight behind all processes required to bring about the much needed development to Bayelsa State including the initiation and completion of other necessary developmental projects across the state. For instance, the road from Nembe to Brass, the Local Government of the Minister of State Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, is critical to us and should be given urgent consideration by the Federal Government and the oil multinationals operating there, including the Agip Oil Company. Agip has been operating on that Island for many years now. “In addition, Oloibiri deserves to be a National Heritage Site.
We will therefore implore your Excellency, Mr. President to give effect to this consideration and expedite it by all lawful means possible. This initiative is indeed the fulfillment of a longstanding quest to preserve the history of petroleum exploration and its impact in the Niger Delta, and by extension in Nigeria and the world in general. It is heartwarming that this vision is now coming to fruition. “The choice of Oloibiri as the location of the museum and research centre is quite apt and commendable. It could not have been anywhere else. The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Sylva, who inaugurated the key project committees, also gave delivery timelines for the project execution, noting that the project would be fast-tracked with preconstruction activities lasting eight months.