The Chief Executive Officer, Special Tactical Squad for Oil And Gas Services Ltd, Prince Christopher Akpojotor Agaga has said that the Petroleum Industrial Act (PIA) and clauses in the law establishing Nigeria Content Development and Management Board (NCDMB) have combined to cheat oil producing communities in the Niger Delta region.
Speaking to newsmen in Uyo on Monday during the Town Hall Meeting organized by Niger Delta Ministry to seek lasting peace in the Niger Delta, Agaga said laws that were intended to change the fortunes of oil-bearing communities have turned out to be a thorn in the flesh of oil host communities.
Agaga who is also a Legislative Aide to the Deputy Senate President Senator Ovie Omo-Agege observed that gaps in these laws caused oil companies to manipulate their host communities.
He mentioned the exclusion of the practice of 30 percent in bid package for community development and security management plans that was provided by oil companies during the project bidding process but now scrapped.
“In those days when companies were bidding for projects, they always provide in their bid package what is called community development and security management plans. There was 30 percent set aside in the project costing during commercial bids.
“As at that time, there were no security challenges in oil-producing communities. When they were building Port Harcourt, Warri, refineries, and Eleme Petro Chemical, when Train 1-7 of NLNG were built, there was no security challenges.”
He recalled that Niger Delta youths saw the massive development in Abuja when they joined Abacha support group through five million man March for the Abacha military junta and when they returned home mobilized against oil companies in their domain as they compared Abuja infrastructure to under development in their communities.
Agaga who is partnering with the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs further explained that there was a department in NNPC known as Local Content with a General Manager who later became the Secretary of the Nigeria Content and Management Board ( NCMB) whose duty was to look into affairs of host communities.
“The local content was only working for the federal government by advising International Oil companies to make some level of technology transfer to local contractors or local investors while neglecting the critical owners of oil resources.
“The federal government was concentrating on local investors at the expense of host communities.”
He faulted a situation where the Nigeria Content Management Board asked contractors to submit their local content plan instead of them to visit host communities and see things for themselves rather than using the oil companies as their intermediary.
Agaga, therefore, urged the federal government to review laws establishing NCMB and the Petroleum Industry Act( PIA) as a way to return the rights of oil-producing communities for lasting peace in the Niger Delta region.
He cited an instance where Agip Oil company flouted House of Assembly resolutions in Rivers State on welfare package for their host community and even ignore court judgment on the matter while Effiat community in Akwa Ibom state suffered neglect in the hands of seven oil companies operating in the community without justice.
Prince Christopher Agaga, CEO Special Tactical Squad For Oil And Gas Services.