The Labour Party (LP) Governorship Candidate in Bayelsa State, Comrade Udengs Eradiri, has accused the state Governor, Douye Diri, of standing akimbo and watching cluelessly as the Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) sold their business in the state to Oando.
Eradiri said Diri was only interested in pursuing an elusive reelection bid and failed to protect the state’s interest in the deal that would negatively affect many Agip host communities and indigenes of the state working in the oil firm.
He said if Diri had understood the essence of governance, he would have involved the state in the transaction to ensure that Bayelsa was given the right of first refusal because such mega deal primarily concerned the state.
Eradiri, who spoke at the weekend in his residence in Yenagoa, said Agip remained the only oil multinational close to the people and selling such company’s interest without involving the government and the people would negatively affect the state.
He said with such takeover deal, many Bayelsa indigenes eking out a living in the company could be sacked while other benefits hitherto accruing to the host communities might be cancelled by the new company.
He said: “We heard that Oando is buying over Agip without the consent of Bayelsans. Many Bayelsa people will be sacked. We know how they operate.
“That is another poverty that is coming, another crisis that will come. What is the government doing? The government is quiet. Don’t forget that all the surveillance they are doing around in Southern Ijaw and the rest is coming from Agip”.
Eradiri said if the governor had been responsive to the people and the state’s interest, he would have joined the bidding for such mega deal through the Bayelsa Oil Company.
He said: “Agip is our concern, they are operating in Brass. They cannot wake up and unilaterally sell our fields. No, it cannot happen. If this government had been alive to its duties, the governor would have called them to the table and say, what are you people telling us?
“We have Bayelsans that can put that money together and pay for that field. We must be given the first right of refusal. If Agip is tired of their operations in the Niger Delta and intend to leave, they must leave in a corporate manner that respects the rights of Bayelsans.
“Give us that first right of refusal. In Nembe, they are operating. In Brass, they are operating. In Southern Ijaw, they are operating. In Yenagoa- Okodia, Biseni, Zarama, they are operating. They cannot just wake up and say they are selling to a company without involving us.
“The state government will lose a lot of tax because they will move all their operations, even in the Brass operations, all the offices will go to Lagos. So we are going to lose a lot. They will be operating from the sea and that is why if I take up the leadership, I am going to set up the coastal guards.
“I am going to ensure that the state assembly makes a law of 50% of oil and gas activities must be done by a revived Bayelsa oil company so that the young people who are not employed can be employed in the oil and gas sector, build their capacity and create wealth.
“So Bayelsa State government must ensure that Agip comes to explain that transaction and where the state must participate. We must take our participatory right in that handover so that we can continuously create economy and sustain the livelihood of our people”