Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has called on major oil companies operating in the state to make their impact felt in their host communities, so as to give the people a sense of belonging.
He stated this when the management of Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, paid him a courtesy visit yesterday at the Government House, Port Harcourt. Governor Wike observed that the nonchalant attitude of some of the oil companies to the development concerns of their host communities cause mistrust and conflict.
The governor called on the management of SPDC to positively consider Rivers State indigenes, as they sell their oil wells to investors.
He pointed out that from available records SPDC has not been partnering with the state government to develop projects for their host communities and appealed to the company to change its approach to enhance better community relations.
“It is imperative for oil communities to contribute to the development of their respective communities. Some people say these companies are not interested in their host communities, as they are more concerned about themselves. Let the communities living around the areas where you operate have a sense of belonging”.
He disclosed that he had received unconfirmed reports that SPDC staff pay their taxes to another state, saying the SPDC should take steps to resolve issues in that regard.
The governor assured the management of SPDC and other companies operating in the state of adequate security to enable them carry out their legitimate businesses.
Wike said the state government had concluded plans to ensure the receipt of the two armoured helicopters ordered by the previous administration for aerial surveillance of oil field, to prevent crude oil theft.
The governor noted that it is important that qualified indigenes of the state are given the opportunity to buy into SPDC, as it sells its onshore oil wells in a bid to go offshore.
He explained that the involvement of Rivers State indigenes in the ownership of SPDC would strengthen the bond of both parties.

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