From Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, said there was greater gain that communities can derive when they notify the state government of any dispute they might have with oil companies operating in their areas.
Governor Wike observed that most communities took to violence and thought it was the best way for them to get what they wanted from any company.
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The Rivers State governor stated this when members of the Ogba Traditional Council and stakeholders formally introduced the Oba of Ogbaland, Nwachukwu Obuoha Nnam-Obi, III, to the governor at Government House, Port Harcourt on Friday.
Governor Wike stated that the state government would no longer tolerate a situation where communities would block roads, stop operations of companies and think government will intervene on their behalf.
He insisted that communities must at all times first report their grievances to the state government and not resort to taking the law into their hands.
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Wike said: “It is not when you go and blow up oil pipelines or gas pipelines that you get what you want to get. No community can do it alone.
“There is nothing wrong with you liaising with government to make sure companies fulfil their promises and whatever is provided in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). You need government to give you support.”
Governor Wike said the support the state government could give should first be sought by the community, which would enable them not to take the laws in their hands.
He pointed out that any community that engages in avoidable violent protests against any company could also not use such to intimidate government because they would be left to their fate. Governor Wike advised the new Oba of Ogbaland to recognise the enormous challenges that come with superintending over a large ethnic group in the state.