Stakeholders in the oil and gas sector have expressed disappointment over the deplorable state of the Port Harcourt-Aba express road, with a call on the Federal Government to fix the road to alleviate the plight of the people.
A former chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Rivers State, Comrade Chika Onuegbu who commented on the poor state of the road said it was a shame that a major federal road that links the resource base of the nation was grossly neglected.
Onuegbu who is a key stakeholder in the Nigeria oil and gas sector, said it was ironical that the Federal Government would remain insensitive to the cry of the people to fix the Eleme axis of the East-West Road and the Port Harcourt-Aba express road, which links the oil and gas free zone authority, Indorama Eleme Petro-chemical and the Port Harcourt refinery, all of which produce the major revenue used to drive the Nigerian economy.
The union leader and activist called on the Federal Government to immediately fix the road, especially during this dry season to lessen the sufferings of the people.
Also speaking, the chairman, Port Harcourt zone of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Comrade Alex Agwanwor decried the poor state of the Port Harcourt-Aba express road, which he described as a death trap.
The NUPENG chairman said most tankers conveying petroleum products had got damaged on the said road, of which members of the union lost their lives.
Agwanwor, commended the Rivers State government for its intervention in carrying out remediation work on the Eleme axis of the East-West road, and called on other stakeholders to complement the effort of the Rivers State Government in fixing the road.
He said that it was regrettable that money required to generate over 40 percent of the federal budget was from oil and gas but the road leading to the revenue base of the nation was abandoned.
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Protest: Commissioner Urges Dialogue Over PIA Implementation
Delta State Commissioner for Oil and Gas, Olorogun Vincent Oyibode, has called on the protesting host communities to Otumara Flow Station of the Shell Petroleum Development Commission (SPDC) in Warri South West Local Government Area to engage in a friendly dialogue with the multi-national oil firm over the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
Oyibode, who made the call while briefing journalists on the outcome of his visit to Otumara Flow Station and the host communities, in Warri, at the weekend, urged the protesting communities of Ugborodo, Deghele and Ugboegungun not to shut down the operations of the SPDC.
According to the commissioner, “the 20,000 barrels per day SPDC facility in Otumara is of great economic importance to the Federal and Delta State Government”.
He said the state government would continue to intervene where and when necessary just as he implored the host communities and SPDC to explore the benefits of dialogue in resolving the disagreement.
Oyibode also stated that the Governor Sheriff Oborevwori-led government was determined to provide an enabling environment for international oil companies and investors in the State.
The commissioner said, “the management team, Ministry of Oil and Gas visited the protestants at the Otumara community where the Flow Station is sited.
“We held discussions with leaders who expressed their concerns. We also advised that the internal wranglings within critical stakeholders over the name for the HCDT should not lead to shutting down of Otumara Flow Station and SPDC’s operations”.
The commissioner insisted that the disagreement between the host communities to Otumara Flow Station and SPDC which has to do with setting up a Host Community Development Trust was a matter that can be resolved amicably, adding that “the Delta State Government is on top of the issue.
“We appeal to the host communities of Ugborodo, Ugboegungun, and Deghele not to shut down the operations at the Otumara Flow Station, while the negotiations continue for a win-win resolution”.
It would be recalled that the protesting communities had earlier called on the SPDC to visit the host communities in line with the PIA 2021 provisíons which empowers communities to set up a Host Community Development Trust Fund (HCDTF).
However, following an alleged illegality of the multinational against the spirit of the PIA by refusing to engage the three communities of the Otumara Flow Station in the Fund, it ignited a protest and upon the expiration of the 48- hour ultimatum gained entry into the facility with the threat of a total shutdown.
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