President Muhammadu Buhari and Minister of State for Petroleum Ibe Kachikwu met with the Royal Dutch Shell Group team at the State House on Friday, May 20. Insurgency in the Niger Delta area as well as oil companies presence and future plans were the main topics for discussion.
During the meeting the president once again urged the militant groups, aggrieved persons and communities to drop weapons and sit down at the negotiating table primarily for the review of the Amnesty Programme initiated by the Yar’Adua administration.
The leader of the country assured oil companies operating in the region of the government’s commitment to ensure security and protection of strategic assets. He recalled that the chief of naval staff was ordered to reorganise and strengthen the military Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta.
Besides, he stressed that the JTF operations were enhanced by the cooperation with the United States and Europe in training, intelligence, equipment and logistics. The president told Andrew Brown, the director of the Royal Dutch Shell Group:
“We have to be very serious with the situation in the Niger Delta because it threatens the national economy. I assure you that everything possible will be done to protect personnel and oil assets in the region.”
Mr Brown in his turn assured Buhari of the company’s staying in the country — contrary to the recent speculations about its withdrawal. Moreoverm he said that Shell was currently in discussions with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on new joint oil and gas projects.
President Buhari praised the Shell resilience and persistence in Nigeria despite the challenges caused by the hositle environment. He urged the company to stop gas flaring in the Niger Delta as soon as possible and produce more gas for electricity generation to support manufacturing and job creation in the country.
Recall that last week President Muhammadu Buhari has given fresh orders for the new militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers to be hunted down and destroyed.
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