Deputy Governor of Delta State and Chairman of Delta State Advocacy Committee Against Vandalism of Oil and Gas Facilities, Barr. Kingsley Burutu Otuaro, has appealed to Niger Delta Avengers to sheathe their swords and come to the dialogue table.
The NDA had hinted last week of planned attack on critical oil assets in resumed hostilities in the oil rich region tagged "operation red economy", aimed at bringing Nigeria’s oil production and export capacity to zero point.
But Barr. Otuaro-led Advocacy Committee with Dr. Chris Ekiyor as Secretary, has extended invitation to the NDA, asking the militant body to formally lodge their grievances to the State Governor’s office Annexe, Warri or to the Deputy Governor’s Office, Government House, Asaba for subsequent engagement.
Addressing newsmen in Warri, on the backdrop of NDA’s fresh threat, Otuaro said: "As agitators, we must be mindful not to cancel out the modest gains already made through the dialogue process with the Federal Government which is still on course.
"Days back, the House of Representatives passed the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Bill to law as the Senate did last year. The Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) was also just passed. These are few pointers among others of better things to come", Otuaro stressed.
He disclosed that the Delta State Advocacy Committee Against Vandalism of Oil and Gas Facilities just concluded a 2-day Conference on securing oil installations in Delta State and the Conference drew attendance from oil companies, government bodies and communities from both Itsekiri and Ijaw Kingdoms in the riverside areas of the state, where the Country Chair/Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Company (SPDC), Mr. Osagie Okunbor, personally attended and delivered the keynote address.
According to Otuaro, the Conference resolved that oil bearing communities must be engaged to better protect oil installations and also agreed that oil installations vandalism was criminal as it is like shooting self and future generations in the foot, having regard to concomittant environmental despoliation and loss of revenue for development of the region.
He noted that the Advocacy Committee also resolved to reach higher platforms to engage authorities of key issues raised at the conference towards resolving same, adding that "We have made contacts and gotten responses; I can tell you that there is yet no reason to be pessimistic".
He reiterated the Delta State Government efforts at peace for development of the oil bearing areas, without prejudice to other groups and bodies in commendable nonviolent agitation for the improvement of the Niger Delta region.
Experience, he said has shown that the people of the region can achieve more through dialogue than by violence, adding it is not only the Federal Government that needs the oil revenue to develop the entire nation but the state, LGAs and communities.
"We also need revenue that ensures the modest development we can bring about. While we deserve more, we cannot endanger the environment for survival of our generation, let alone future generations", he added.