Rivers State governor Nyesom Wike has assured the people of Bille kingdom in Degema local government area of building shoreline protection around its coastal areas.
Governor Wike who gave the assurance while unveiling the Bille kingdom development blueprint in Portharcourt, said sand filling Bille town and its environs will be achievable if Bille continue to maintain the existing peace amongst its communities, adding that little by little Bille will get every economic, environmental, human capital, social cultural and infrastructure development it desires before the year 2040.
The governor who was represented by the Commissioner for Energy and Natural Resources, Herbert Miller, urged Bille people to cooperate with the state government to stop every illegal bunkering and vandalism activities going on within the coastal area describing it as sabotage to the government’s efforts.
He appealed to the Bille people to also assist the government in fishing out those who are involved in kidnapping, cultism in the communities, in order to bring the menace to an end.
The governor saluted the effort of Bille kingdom to have organised a development summit which addresses the issues and challenges Bille people are facing.
Also speaking, Deputy Governor, Dr Ipalibo Harry, who was represented by Former Caretaker Chairman of Degema local government area, Okorite Adiele, said the government is working towards setting up a modular refinery in Bille kingdom.
According to her, the state government will assist Bille through the ministry of Petroleum resources to ensure the modular refinery is established and urge the authorities of Bille to put together what is needed to operate the modular refinery and forward to her.
She appealed to the youth of Bille kingdom to shun every form of cultism and violence that will discourage foreign investors from partnering in developing Bille kingdom.
Earlier, the people of Bille kingdom had called on federal, state government and all development partners to expedite action on human capacity, environmental development of the people of Bille kingdom.
Vice Chairman Bille Kingdom’s Chiefs Council, Chief Ibitamino Minapakama, who made the call during a development summit organized by Bille kingdom in Portharcourt, said there is an urgent need for shore protection, land reclamation in Bille town and its satellite communities in order to prevent coastal erosion.
He noted that Bille as a host community with oil fields of a total annual production capacity of 6,886,984 barrel of crude oil and 6,880,757 metro-tones of gas should have a new narrative of economic and infrastructural development in all her communities.
On his part, Community Development Chairman Bille Kingdom, Dr Somieari Isaac-Harry, appealed to government, oil and gas companies operating within its communities to intervene in the environmental issues that have relegated their major occupation fishing into comatose.
He noted that Bille kingdom is known predominantly as fishermen, shellfish collectors, processors, and businessmen, stressing that their fisher folks are dying silently because of harsh environmental conditions such as illegal bunkering.