The Edo State Acting Governor, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu, has urged for dialogue among stakeholders in resolving the impasse between Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) and its host communities.
Speaking during a meeting with representatives from 52 host communities, executives of the NPDC led by the Managing Director, Ali Muhammad Zarah, security agencies and other government officials at the Government House, in Benin City, Shaibu assured that the state government will work with the stakeholders in resolving the dispute.
He said, “We want Edo State to be the hub of all economic activities. We want Edo to be the operational zone for businesses and from where they will launch into other zones. We thank NPDC for having its headquarters here in the state. Edo people appreciate it and at the same time, Edo people must benefit from the company.
“We must protect this facility while the facility works for us. It is our commonwealth, and together we must protect it.”
Shaibu appealed to members of the host communities to vacate the premises of NPDC to enable positive dialogue that will lead to an amicable resolution of the crisis, noting, “You will bring four people to represent your communities. We will bring five persons to represent the state government, while NPDC will also bring their representatives. We will sit together, look at our demands and peacefully resolve the issues.
“We have a two-week timeline to speak to the issues and address the details in our demand. Our focus is developmental and we will ensure peaceful resolution of the issues and ensure a win-win situation for the disputing parties.”
Representative of the host communities, Chief Francis Inegbeneki, said: “We have laid down our demand and urge them to speak to it positively and address the issues in detail."
The Edo State Commissioner of Police, Abutu Yaro, appealed to the host communities and NPDC to embrace dialogue and ensure a peaceful resolution of the crisis, adding, “We should all have an inclusive and constructive engagement that will be beneficial to all of us.”