Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Dialogue with NDA, Kalu tells govt

By on 15:09
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Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu

Eminent player in the oil and gas industry and former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Kalu has appealed to the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) to cease fire as bombing of oil installations will not solve the challenges facing the region, adding that constructive criticism, dialogue, sheathing of swords and, if necessary, compromise, are the best approaches and strategies in fighting for a good cause.

According to Kalu, who is the Chairman of Slok Nigeria Ltd, a leading indigenous company operating in the upstream sector of the Nigerian oil and gas industry, the nation’s economy is faced with enormous challenges including the fall in crude oil price and as such should not be subjected to these preventable internal security issues.

Addressing a select group of journalists in Abuja on Monday, Kalu said, “the Nigerian oil and gas sector is undergoing multifaceted difficulties. At the moment, vessel owners are finding it challenging to survive due to the fall in oil production necessitated by the slide in crude oil price and high production cost.

“Our company had in the past few months adopted strategies aimed at cutting cost in order to sustain our labour force. As a person, I derive pleasure in providing employment opportunities and wealth to the teeming population.

“I am sad that despite the difficulties in the oil and gas industry, the NDA are blowing up oil installations and vandalizing pipelines in their region.

“These unfortunate actions will only set the Niger Delta region backwards as government may have no other choice than to fight back with force.

“In as much as the Niger Deltans have their grievances, the best approach is to convey their misery in a credible manner to the authorities and seek dialogue.

“Government must, on its part,  extend the olive branch to the aggrieved Niger Delta people by calling stakeholders in the region to a round-table to identify the way forward including  investing in critical infrastructure in the region and also compelling  oil companies  to give back to their host communities in form of employment,wealth creation and environmental protection".‎

Kalu further tasked government to consider giving Niger Deltans the right of first refusal in the award of contracts for the protection of oil pipelines and installations in the region as they are more familiar with the terrain in the creeks,  adding that through such empowerment the relative peace the region enjoyed in the past will be restored. He noted that this approach will be a win-win situation for government, the people and oil companies.

“I must confess that the uneasy calm is negatively affecting not only the likes of Chevron, Shell and other IOCs but also indigenous companies who service the multinationals.

Kalu, while pleading with leaders of thoughts in the Niger Delta to further sensitize their people to the need to embrace peace and dialogue,  added that government must live up to expectation by ensuring the sustainable development of the Niger Delta.

The business mogul used the opportunity to extend his heartfelt condolences to the families of the civilians and soldiers who lost their  lives in the attack on the military houseboat stationed at Ijere community in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State last week.

Gbenga Dan Asabe

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