The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor and governors of oil producing states on Friday, met to discuss ways to addressing the prevailing security challenges affecting oil production in the country.
Irabor, while welcoming the governors, expressed the Federal Government cooncern about the trend in the security situation in the oil producing states, saying the meeting was at the instance of President Muhammad Buhari.
He said that the meeting was in the light of the current challenges that in the oil and gas sector, adding that the nation was currently bleeding and thought it necessary to reverse the trend.
He said he decided to lead all the heads of security and intelligence agencies as well as the group general manager, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited to the meeting with the governors.
“So, given that the issues demand quick action, as mandated by Mr president, we have come to engage with you and the requirement would involve the whole of society.
“So, as critical stakeholders in Niger Delta, we believe that our framework would come up with two people at the door to address the current issues, you will be playing critical part.
“It is for this reason that we have chosen to engage with you, as directed by Mr President,” he said.
Irabor expressed the belief that the outcome of whatever approach they came up with would be a win -win for every Nigerian.
Responding on behalf of the governors, Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, commended the CDS for convening the meeting, adding that the governors were also worried about the happenings in oil facilities around the states.
Okowa said the governors knew that there had been challenges, saying there had been a sharp drop in oil production from the various facilities.
He said the meeting would give them the opportunity to share ideas with the various agencies of government in charge of security and those in charge of the management of various oil companies in the nation.
The governor said the meeting would provide them the opportunity to see how the states could collaboratively work with security agencies to check the excesses of those involved in oil bunkering and other crimes in the region.
“I do think that this collaboration is a very welcome idea and that it will give us the room for even greater collaboration because it requires a stakeholders’ approach to this very challenging issue.
“As for us, the more oil and gas we are able to produce the better for our states because to a very large extent it will improve the revenues that we have from federal allocation.
“And beyond that too we do believe that if we are able to put a stop to what is going on in our environment, it will be a lot more cleaner than what it is.
“This is because outside the economic challenge we also do realise that the issues that are currently going on are actually those that affect the health of our people.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the governors of Delta, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Rivers and Abia were present, those of Edo, Imo and Ondo were represented by their deputies.
Also, heads of security and intelligence agencies present were the CDS, Inspector General of Police, Directors-General of the Department of State Services, National Intelligence Agency and the Chief of Defense Intelligence.
Others are the Controller-General of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps as well as the NNPC Group General Manager and other top officers.
The meeting is being held behind closed door as at the time of filing this report.