The Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has called on the Federal Government and operating oil multinationals to invest more in the building of critical infrastructure in the oil-rich State.
Diri made the call during a virtual meeting for the symbolic launch of the establishment of an Oil and Gas Museum and Research Centre in Oloibiri District, Ogbia Local Government Area.
He said the call became imperative in order to give back to the Otuabagi/Otuogidi communities, where crude oil was first discovered in commercial quantities in 1956.
Diri, who welcomed the project from the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, supported by four key institutions: Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Petroleum Technology Development Fund, Shell Petroleum and Development Company and the Bayelsa State Government, however, said the oil bearing communities deserve better infrastructure to compensate for the long years of neglect amidst huge resources being tapped from there.
He said: “We receive this day with a tinge of mixed emotions.
“This is because, naturally, the people of Bayelsa State as guardians and holders of the primary source of wealth of our entire nation are deserving not only of recognition but also of all the dividends that ought to flow from this special status.
“I, therefore, appeal that the Federal Government throw its full weight behind all processes required to bring much needed development to Bayelsa State, including the initiation and completion of other necessary developmental projects across the State.
“For instance, the road from Nembe to Brass, the Local Government of the Minister of State Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, is critical to us and should be given urgent consideration by the Federal Government and the Oil Multinationals operating there, the Nigerian Agip Oil Company.
“Agip has been operating on that Island for many years now.”
The Governor, who thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, Sylva and other partners in the Oil and Gas Museum and Research Centre for kick starting the project, gave the assurance that the State Government would support the project by providing an enabling environment for its success and sustenance.
Diri said: “In addition, Oloibiri deserves to be a National Heritage Site.
“We will therefore implore your Excellency, Mr. President to give effect to this consideration and expedite it by all lawful means possible.
“This initiative, is indeed the fulfilment of a longstanding quest to preserve the history of petroleum exploration and its impact in the Niger Delta, and by extension in Nigeria and the world in general.
“It is heartwarming that this vision is now coming to fruition.
“The choice of Oloibiri as the location of the museum and research centre is quite apt and commendable.
“It couldn’t have been anywhere else.”
Sylva, who inaugurated the key project committees, also announced delivery timelines for the project execution, noting that the project would be fast-tracked with pre-construction activities lasting eight months, while actual construction should be completed within 36 months from the date of commencement.
The project, with its secretariat located within the NCDMB Head Office in Yenagoa, involves 40 per cent contribution from PTDF, while NCDMB and SPDC would provide 30 per cent and 20 per cent cost respectively, just as the Bayelsa State Government will provide the balance of 10 per cent.