The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, on Tuesday attributed an increase in oil production in the Niger Delta region to the peace building initiatives of Governor Henry Seriake Dickson led administration in Bayelsa.
A statement by the Governor’s Special Adviser on Media Relations, Mr. FIdelis Soriwei, on Wednesday, stated that Dr. Baru made the comment when he led a delegation of top officials of the NNPC to pay a courtesy visit to Governor Dickson, in Government House, Yenagoa.
Baru, who described Dickson as “the one making the difference’ noted that, the Industry would ever remain grateful to the governor for turning around the atmosphere of strife, violence, disunity and endemic interruptions of oil production in the region.
He also said that, the governor intervened to bring about peace and stability, through what he described as the implementation of people-focused policies’ in the areas of education, health care delivery programmes and other manpower development initiatives.
Dr. Baru, who described peace as a necessary condition for development to take place, pointed out that, Governor Dickson’s exemplary peace initiatives had contributed significantly to improved crude oil production.
Dr. Baru observed that, the Governor Dickson administration’s efforts at the sustenance of peace and stability in the state, had greatly minimized the incidence of militancy and other activities hampering operations of the oil and gas industry.
The Group Managing Director of the NNPC said, the NNPC delegation was in the state to deliver a lecture at the two-day seminar organized by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board in Yenagoa.
He stated that, building of skills of the state’s manpower would not only help in domesticating the activities of the oil and gas industry, but also boost the socio-economic activities of the state and region.
His words: “We have been discussing with you severally and have seen the good works you are delivering in Bayelsa state especially in terms of peace. It is non-negotiable and more than what money could give.
We know the state we found the region when we took over the running of the industry. We saw the level of disunity and interruption and sabotage that was going on. “It took people of your caliber to intervene and the oil and gas industry in Nigeria will forever remain grateful for your good works. We know what the production had been and what it is now. Without your good works we wouldn’t have gone close that.
“Not only did you intervene directly with warring factions, you also created employment opportunities, you have been able to mop up a lot of idle hands and put them into good use. “I must not forget too early the immense work you have done in terms of developing education in Bayelsa state. Education is the bedrock of any development. We have severally seen the kinds of schools you are putting together in Bayelsa state, especially big secondary schools each of which has at least 1000 pupils. “And I am aware that in your activities, you have built at least 10 of those schools. 10,000 pupils accommodated and supporting them is very rare and I have not heard of any state that is doing that. So a big congratulation sir. “We in the industry believe that having people with the right skills from the environment is very important because the whole purpose of our coming here in terms of local content is to ensure that we domesticate the activities in the oil and gas industry and of course when we domesticate we also localize.
“In that same line, you’ve got these two universities of which am not aware of such in any state. I am also aware that the airport is almost complete. Our discussions on logistics base have gone very far so obviously as the home of the NCDMB, we can do only better and developing such a logiatics base and of course an industrial park will go a long way for sustainable economic activities for the state and the region.”
Responding, Governor Dickson expressed appreciation to Dr. Baru and his team for their support to the NCDMB in Yenagoa and canvassed for more collaboration in the areas of the oil and gas industry, the Brass Fertilizer Company, and the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas investments.
Governor Dickson said the only way to break the vicious cycle of drug abuse, illiteracy, poverty, militancy and unemployment was through the provision of quality education.
He said his administration had created a mechanism for corporate organizations to make a 5% contribution of their corporate Social Responsibility budget to the State’s Education Trust Fund to adequately fund education.
Governor Dickson, who urged the NNPC to key into government’s initiatives, stressed that, such levies were not double taxation as such intervention schemes would outlive his administration in the overall interest of the state and the Niger Delta region.