President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the major contractors handling the Oloibiri Museum and Research Centre as well as the Local Content Conference Hotel to deliver both projects according to specifications and timelines meant for their completion.
To this end, he directed Julius Berger, the Contractors handling the Oloibiri Museum, and MegaStar Technical and Construction Company Limited in charge of the NCDMB Conference Hotel to carry their host communities along in executing the projects.
President Buhari gave the directives, on Tuesday, at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Museum and Research Centre at Otuabagi in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
Represented by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, the Nigerian President noted that the Federal Government had put all machinery in place, including funding arrangements to ensure hitch-free delivery of the projects.
While urging the communities to own and protect the projects, he emphasized the need for the contractors to comply with the Community Content Guidelines of the NCDMB Act.
Buhari said: “I hereby direct the lead contractors of both projects, Julius Berger and the MegaStar Technical and Construction Company Limited to integrate the host communities and their traditional institutions and skilled youths in the various scopes of the projects.
“I also expect that you will build capacities where necessary to ensure hitch-free project delivery. Specifically, I recommend that the contractors should study the Community Content Guidelines issued by the NCDMB.”
In his remarks, the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, expressed gratitude to the Buhari-led Federal Government for acceding to one of the demands of the state where the first oil well was struck in Nigeria in 1956.
The Governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, posited that most of the agitations in the country, including the Niger Delta question, would not have arisen if resources were equitably distributed.
While highlighting the positive multiplier effects of the projects, Governor Diri pledged readiness to collaborate with the Federal Government and other critical stakeholders to translate them to reality.
He also strongly recommended that the Museum and Research Centre Project be named after Otuabagi Community to avoid the mistake made by Shell Petroleum Development Company attributing oil wells located in Nembe Local Government Area in Bayelsa to Soku in Rivers State.
His words: “The cry of Oloibiri and Bayelsa State and the Niger Delta is not for justice. Our cry is for equity. A society that does not put equity before justice can never make progress. Justice is only a remedy to inequity.
“As a state, we are happy about what we are seeing here today. We are believing that equity has started coming to sit in Bayelsa because all we want is that there should be equitable distribution of resources in this country.
“It is, therefore, our firm belief and gratitude that the Federal Government has finally taken the bull by the horn to execute this project, which will have so many multiplier effects on the state and the country in general.”
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Mr Kesiye Wabote, said feasibility studies, environmental impact assessment (EIA), site clearing, and architectural design had already been completed.
He acknowledged the support of the Bayelsa State Government to the projects, stressing that the contractors were carefully selected to ensure they put up edifices that will stand out as world-class oil and gas tourism destinations.
In their separate goodwill messages, the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Mallam Mele Kyari, and the Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission, Chief Samuel Ogboku, pledged support to the realization of the projects.
Earlier, the Obanobhan of Ogbia Kingdom, His Majesty, King Charles Owaba and a representative of Otuabagi, Prof. Teddy Adias, expressed gratitude to President Buhari, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, the state government and the various funding partners for the take-off of the Museum Project.