SOME indigenous oil players in the Niger Delta, Nigeria’s main oil and gas hub, and a radical group in the area, rose from a meeting on Thursday, resolving to be more active in the on-going anti-corruption war in the country’s problematic oil and gas industry.
They jointly agreed to put more pressure on both the executive and legislative arms of government, to broaden the on-going searchlight on nthe industry to include ”sharp practices” in the content regime.
They are arguing that effective implementation of the country’s Local Content Act, will help to vigorously combat graft in the industry which they claimed, ”has soiled” the image of the country.
The local oil servicing players, rose from ”a strategic interest meeting” with the Niger Delta Indigenous Movement for Radical Change (NDIMRC) in Warri, the commercial heart of Delta State, on Thursday, resolving to allow the group to push their agenda.
A correspondent of AkanimoReports who covered the closed door parley, reports that emerging interest group agreed to employ every method necessary to ensure that the sector was sanitised.
While the local oil chiefs mandated the group to champion their agenda, the meeting however, called on President Goodluck Jonathan, to direct the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, to take ”serious steps” to encourage the full implementation of the content law in a bid to curb some of the leakages in the industry.
The Act was signed into law by President Jonathan on April 22, 2010.
The minister had on January 24, 2012 flagged off visit to key local content facilities across the country on critical assessment.
Ernest Nwapa, a top public functionary, says the facility tour will take the minister to fabrication yards, logistics bases, training institutes and service centres in Abuja, Lagos, Warri and Port-Harcourt.
According to him, ”the tour is expected to encourage the investors of the full support of the government and industry to meet the aspirations of the Nigerian Content Act”.
Spokesman for the group, Nelly Emma, has said that the move was a welcome development, noting that local companies in the region have built capacity to face the challenges in the oil and gas industry and they need to be supported with good jobs so as for them not to go down.
”We really welcome the Local Content Assessment visit of the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, a true daughter of the Niger Delta region, but her visit will be meaningless if it does not translate into good jobs for our people who have invested heavily in capacity building,” he said.
The group has always claimed that the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) was the main culprit in the subversion of the content law and should be checked now to avoid crisis in the Niger Delta region.
”Our investigation, as a watchdog group, has revealed that Shell does not want local contractors in the oil and gas industry to survive. The company wants our people who have invested billions of dollars in the sector, to go bankrupt. This explains why the company has been giving every support to Saipem, Daewoo, O.P.I. and Acergy. We are saying that this is wrong because it is driving our people out of business”.
Shell, according to them, is allegedly out to frustrate local investors that they do not have dealings with. Shell has programmed all its major projects from 2011-2020 to the oil servicing majors such as O.P.I., Saipem and Daewoo to the detriment of the local investors.
Before now, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Mr. Ernest Nwapa, had visited some local contractors to see things for himself.
The Niger Delta group is imploring Mrs. Alison-Madueke, to encourage those from the region who have invested heavily in capacity building with good contracts and give allocations and oil blocks to our people because it is our oil.
”Fix our people in sensitive positions in NNPC instead of allowing such positions to be occupied by the Hausas and Yorubas who are not supporting the administration of President Jonathan. The Petroleum Minister cannot afford to fail the people of the Niger Delta region”, they said.