Dialogue with NDA, Kalu tells govt

Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu

Eminent player in the
oil and gas industry and former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Kalu has
appealed to the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) to cease fire as bombing of oil
installations will not solve the challenges facing the region, adding that
constructive criticism, dialogue, sheathing of swords and, if necessary,
compromise, are the best approaches and strategies in fighting for a good
According to Kalu, who
is the Chairman of Slok Nigeria Ltd, a leading indigenous company operating in
the upstream sector of the Nigerian oil and gas industry, the nation’s economy
is faced with enormous challenges including the fall in crude oil price and as
such should not be subjected to these preventable internal security issues.

Addressing a select
group of journalists in Abuja on Monday, Kalu said, “the Nigerian oil and gas
sector is undergoing multifaceted difficulties. At the moment, vessel owners
are finding it challenging to survive due to the fall in oil production
necessitated by the slide in crude oil price and high production cost.
“Our company had in the
past few months adopted strategies aimed at cutting cost in order to sustain
our labour force. As a person, I derive pleasure in providing employment
opportunities and wealth to the teeming population.
“I am sad that despite
the difficulties in the oil and gas industry, the NDA are blowing up oil
installations and vandalizing pipelines in their region.
“These unfortunate
actions will only set the Niger Delta region backwards as government may have
no other choice than to fight back with force.
“In as much as the Niger
Deltans have their grievances, the best approach is to convey their misery in a
credible manner to the authorities and seek dialogue.
“Government must, on its
part,  extend the olive branch to the aggrieved Niger Delta people by
calling stakeholders in the region to a round-table to identify the way forward
including  investing in critical infrastructure in the region and
also compelling  oil companies  to give back to their host
communities in form of employment,wealth creation and environmental
Kalu further tasked
government to consider giving Niger Deltans the right of first refusal in the
award of contracts for the protection of oil pipelines and installations in the
region as they are more familiar with the terrain in the creeks,  adding
that through such empowerment the relative peace the region enjoyed in the past
will be restored. He noted that this approach will be a win-win situation for
government, the people and oil companies.
“I must confess that the
uneasy calm is negatively affecting not only the likes of Chevron, Shell and
other IOCs but also indigenous companies who service the multinationals.
Kalu, while pleading
with leaders of thoughts in the Niger Delta to further sensitize their people
to the need to embrace peace and dialogue,  added that government
must live up to expectation by ensuring the sustainable development of the
Niger Delta.

The business mogul used
the opportunity to extend his heartfelt condolences to the families of the
civilians and soldiers who lost their  lives in the attack on the military
houseboat stationed at Ijere community in Warri South Local Government Area of
Delta State last week.