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allAfrica.com: Nigeria: Sylva Wants Shell to Open Operational Office

This Day (Lagos)
25 October 2007
Kunle Akogun
Lagos

Governor Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa State has stressed the need for Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to establish an operational office in the State.

The governor stated this shortly after securing the release of 7 hostages that were abducted from the Shell platform in Ekeremor Local Government Area of the State.
 
He pointed out that the oil company’s presence in the state would provide more employment opportunities as well as enhance socio-economic activities in Bayelsa, adding that the perceived absence of the company in the state is adversely affecting its economic growth.

The Governor further stated that the establishment of an SPDC central divisional office in Bayelsa State would provide more employment opportunities for the people as well as boost economic activities in the area. He pointed out that this will go a long way towards expediting the peace and reconciliation process.

“The question is, will the business wait until peace has come to the area or should the business come before, because I believe that the peace process willbe driven by the businesses coming earlier” Sylva emphasized.

The Governor was of the view that the establishment of a division of Shell in the State would go a long way towards solving a myriad of problems including militancy, adding that the move would also facilitate the on-going peace process.

He said, “without the employment opportunities the problem will still be a there because as you know, the main issue here is employment and opportunities for our people.”
 
He said Bayelsa is one of the State that has the lowest crime rate in the country, pointing out that Shell’s production in the State is sufficient to support its presence in Bayelsa.

Responding, the General Manager Security of SPDC, Mr. Leke Adedipe thanked Governor Sylva for his timely intervention that led to the release of the hostages.

He noted that the dispatch and passion with which theGovernor secured the release of his colleagues willcontinue to be an encouragement to SHELL, as acompany.On the issue of establishing an operational office inthe state Mr. Adedipe said, “I will bring it up with my Senior colleagues and at the appropriate forum, the time and plans will be given”. Speaking on behalf of the other freed hostages, Sea Captain Theo Courtriers thanked the State Governor fortheir release and gave an assurance that they wouldcontinue to work in the State. Courtriers who stated that they were unharmed while in captivity two days ago, described their incarceration and experience as traumatic. The freed hostages were four Nigerians and three expatriates who have since gone home.

http://allafrica.com/stories/200710250268.html

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