Henceforth, communities and youths who shut down oil production facilities of companies operating in Rivers State now risk severe sanction.
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State gave the warning yesterday following complaints that some aggrieved persons had seized an oil-rig belonging to Aeroton oil-producing firm in the Kalabari area of the state.
The governor, who spoke during a meeting with chairmen of Cluster Development Boards in Asari-Toru, Akuku-Toru and Degema local councils with oil companies and security agencies at the Government House, Port Harcourt, said under no circumstances should communities take laws into their hands by preventing oil production companies from working in any part of the state.
“I will not support any company not to carry out their corporate social responsibilities to their host communities. However, communities must not take laws into their hands. They must not stop production by the operating companies,” he said.
The governor assured the communities that in cases where companies fail to act within the expectations of the communities, the state government would mediate through the steering committee on cluster development boards.
“It is important that we do not allow crisis to occur in the communities. The Aeroton rig in one community was seized. That rig should be allowed to work. I called this meeting because of the concerns raised by the operating companies in the area,” he further said.
Meanwhile, an official of one of the cluster development boards Mr. Charles Sekibo, denied seizing the rig of one of the oil companies. He said that his community had always been providing the needed support for the company to engage in production.
However, Managing Director of Aeroton, Mr. Ebiaho Emafo, stated that nobody has the right to stop the production of oil companies.
He lamented that despite being under immense pressure, the company had spent about N3 billion on community development.