By Nathan Nwakamma
Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa on Monday said that his administration remained committed to the take off and success of Brass Fertiliser and Petrochemical project sited in Brass Local government Area of the state.
Diri was reacting to a social media report accusing him of plans to scuttle the project as it was allegedly not sited in a “core Ijaw area”.
He said that those behind the allegation did not mean well for the state and the Ijaw nation.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, the governor said that only enemies of the state could concoct such falsehood and spread fake news on social media in order to create ethnic disaffection.
Diri maintained that his administration was committed to the unity and progress of the state and the Ijaw nation rather than engaging in pettiness and promoting a divisive agenda.
“As governor of the only homogenous Ijaw state, I owe our people the responsibility of promoting and preserving our unity.
“Having been in the frontlines of advocacy for a better Ijaw nation in the past, I cannot now negate those cherished principles and ideals.
“It is therefore out of sync to ascribe to my person such primordial and base sentiments,” he said.
Diri called on critical stakeholders, including the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, whose ministry supervises the project, to consider the overall interest of the state while working with others to ensure the project succeeded.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 1 billion dollar investment sited in Odioama community in Brass had been on the drawing board for a while.
The Diri administration had also held meetings with various stakeholders in order for it to take off.
The statement quoted the state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Biriyai Dambo, SAN, who was part of the meetings, as equally describing the allegation against the governor as a blatant lie.
He said the governor from the inception of his administration had wholly supported the project.
“This is a blatant lie. We should try and get our facts straight and right.
“I have been part of the entire meetings with the governor and top officials of Brass Fertiliser and Petrochemical Limited.
“The Bayelsa State Government under Gov. Diri is in full support of the project and meetings are still ongoing to fine-tune the Joint Venture Agreement to be executed by the parties.
“Core Ijaw has had nothing to do with this.
“The progress, development and interest of the state are key to the administration. We must be very circumspect in whatever we utter or write,” Dambo said.
The Chief Press Secretary also quoted the Commissioner for Lands and Housing, Mr Esau Andrew, who hails from Odioama, as saying that in all meetings on the fertiliser project, the governor had shown absolute commitment.
He claimed, however, that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was being influenced to sabotage the project.
“That was a deliberate, cheap and notorious blackmail intended to poison the minds of Bayelsans, all in a bid to cover a malicious intention.
“The governor has repeatedly said that he will ensure safe and unencumbered operations as well as protect the share of the state and the host community.
“The governor held meeting with the Chiefs Council of Odioama Kingdom and restated his stance of protecting the community’s equity share, and also informed them of his efforts in bringing about the prevailing peace in Odioama.
“Rather, it was someone else who covertly wanted to relocate the Brass fertiliser project from Odioama to the Okpoama LNG site in 2017, but the people of Odioama Kingdom vehemently protested and resisted it.
“This was the same cheap blackmail against the former Gov. Seriake Dickson. The people of Odioama are fully aware of it and are ready to protect and defend our ancestral land,” Andrew said.
He also explained that the Brass Fertiliser and Petrochemical Company acquired a total of 595 hectares of land from the host community and that the state government had long issued the Certificate of Occupancy (CofO) and other title documents to the company.
“The CofO processing fee of N116,075,000 was suspended for two years by the Bayelsa State Government, all in fulfillment of the state’s responsibilities as contained in the Joint Venture Agreement between the state and Brass Fertiliser Company.
“The company was registered for this purpose by DSV Petroleum Limited.
“The company has agreed to build and operate a Urea, Methanol and Gas Processing Plant, all to be sited on the 595 hectares of land acquired from Odioama community,” the Lands Commissioner said. (NAN)