The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru, has attributed the increase in Nigeria’s oil production output in the Niger Delta to the peace-building initiatives of the Bayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson.
Baru made this known when he led a delegation of top officials of the NNPC to visit Governor Dickson at the Government House, Yenagoa, on Wednesday.
He stated that there had been calm and near-absence of violence, youth restiveness and militancy in the region, which before now resulted in frequent disruptions of oil production in the region.
A statement by Fidelis Soriwei, the governor’s special adviser on media relations, quoted the NNPC boss to have described Dickson as “the one making the difference”.
Baru said the oil and gas industry was delighted at the prevailing peace in the region, adding that the governor intervened to bring about peace and stability by implementing people-focused policies in the areas of education, healthcare delivery programmes and other manpower development initiatives.
The NNPC boss said that peace was a necessary condition for development to take place, stressing that Dickson’s exemplary peace initiatives had contributed significantly to improved crude oil production.
He noted that the governor’s 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.
Baru also explained that the NNPC delegation was in the state to deliver a lecture at the two-day seminar organised by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) 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 in boosting the socio-economic activities of the state and region.
Baru said: “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.”
Responding, Governor Dickson expressed appreciation to the NNPC boss and his team for their support to the NCDMB in Yenagoa and canvassed for more collaboration to activate the Brass Fertilizer Company and the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas investments.
He said the only way to break the vicious cycle of drug abuse, illiteracy, poverty, militancy and unemployment was through the provision of quality education.