Senate asks FG to convert abandoned Shell Airstrip In Oloibiri to Airforce Base

Senate on Thursday has urged the Ministry of Aviation and the Nigerian Airforce to take over and convert the deserted and uncultivated wasted land of the abandoned Shell Airstrip at Oloibiri Oil well, to a modern Airforce base in Bayelsa State .


The Nigeria Senate also asked the Nigerian National Petroleum Company ( NNPCL) , Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria ( SPDC), other oil companies and the Niger Delta Development Commission ( NDDC), to contribute to the proposed Airforce base project .


Senate’s resolutions were sequel to a motion sponsored by Senator representing Bayelsa East in the Red Chamber,Sen.Agadaga Benson Sunday.


Sen.Agadaga in his lead debate on the motion , informed the Senate that the Shell Airstrip constructed in 1958 following the first discovery of crude oil in 1956 and sitting on over 25 hecters of land situated at Itokopiri bush which is hosting the famous Oloibiri Oil well 1 in Otuogidi Community, has long been abandoned.


He said the abandoned Airstrip, while in effective operation, was a very valuable asset in the company’s oil exploration and exploitation activities in airlifting of personnel and equipment for that period.


He added that during the years of its functionality, heavy duty equipments, Company Workers, Captains of Industry, top Government functionaries and Diplomats resorted to this route for easy access to the Niger Delta region.


He however lamented that since the gradual decline of Shell’s operations in the area and final departure from Oloibiri oil field, the Airstrip and the land where it operated have been abandoned and left desolate even as the land itselfappears to have been sentenced to perpetual condemnation as no agricultural activity which is the economic mainstay of the local dwellers can be carried out anymore due to the concretized topography of the soil.


The state of the abandoned Airstrip , according to him, posed environmental challenges and serious ecological complications to the Host Community as Shell has left the people in deprivation, squalor and lamentation after decades of operation.


He therefore declared that upgrading the abandoned Airstrip to an Air Force Base will bring renewed hope to the people, restore life to the area and attract the following benefits to the country.


“It will also strengthen the security architecture of Nigeria as the creeks of Bayelsa up to Brass Island and the coast of the Atlantic Ocean in the gulf of guinea where the oil export terminal is located will be easily monitored and protected.


“It will reduce the rate of oil theft and pipeline vandalism as it will enhance surveillance activities in the numerous oil producing and impacted communities of the area which constitute the hub of oil industry activities in Nigeria.


“It will attract more business opportunities in the area thereby creating additional jobs to boost the economic growth of our nation and ease the cost of living of the people”the Senator added.


All Senators that contributed during the debate in the Red chamber supported the motion.

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