By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Ibe Kachikwu, has raised an alarm concerning the ecosystem of the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, which he said is currently under a big threat.
Mr Kachikwu made this known in Lagos on Monday at the 17th Health Safety and Environment (HSE) Biennial Conference on the Oil and Gas Industry in Nigeria organised by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
Speaking in his keynote address at the occasion, the Minister pointed out that the entire ecosystem of Niger Delta has come under threat as a result of the oil spills caused by vandalism of facilities by militants.
Also, he said the insecurity in the region had raised the cost of security by six times over the past 10 years.
He noted that urgent steps must be taken to salvage situations in the Niger Delta and called on militants to embrace peace.
He pointed out that the militants were doing more harm to the region, stressing that dialogue should always be an option to try and not violence.
“In the last couple of weeks, the Ministry of Petroleum has launched the 7 Big Wins. The first of the Big Wins is getting the Niger Delta stabilised through engagement, empowerment and enforcement. The other aspect of the Big Wins is righting the wrongs through remediation and education,” Mr Kachikwu, who was represented by his Senior Technical Adviser on Fiscal and Regulatory Matters, Dr Tim Okon, said at the conference.
Also speaking at the forum, Vice-Chairman of the Security Subcommittee of the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mr Shina Bankole, lamented that Nigeria has lost over 130 million barrels of crude oil from January to October this year to the activities of militant groups in the region.
“As of today, more than 130 million barrels of crude oil have been lost due to the inability of the oil companies to produce as a result of the activities of the militants,” he said at the event.
Also, former Minister of State for Energy and the Amayanabo of Nembe Kingdom in Bayelsa State, Dr Edmund Daukoru, appealed to the people of the Niger Delta to listen to themselves and the outside world, adding that blowing up pipelines amounted to cutting their nose to spite their face.
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