13 October 2013, Sweetcrude, Lagos – The implementation of Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development, NOGICD, Act requires that a structure is put in place to ensure that Health, Safety, Security and Environment, HSSE, is not compromised in any operation undertaken by stakeholders. The activities of all players and operators need to be monitored now more than ever to ensure that lives are not lost in the execution of contracts or engagement of personnel. The many kidnappings, killing of students asleep in bed, death of scores on sinking river boats in the Niger Delta and the fatal plane crash, loss of life of a major entrepreneur and his son, untimely death of a commissioner and others on yet another ill-fated flight in Nigeria questions the premium that Nigeria places on human capital. It is becoming more obvious that an understanding of the fundamentals of HSSE and the requisite standards is lost to most Nigerians and her leaders. The lack of structure and absence of a penalty for the breech of HSSE standards continue to demonstrate our perception of the value of human life. This strengthens my opinion that the country and the oil industry must operate in sync to implement a hydrocarbon value chain driven transformation.
There is a need to promote HSSE in Nigeria. The Oil and Gas industry vocationals, professionals, leadership and entrepreneurs should feel safe and secure enough to give their best whilst working on Nigerian Assets and projects. HSSE needs to be communicated holistically to all Nigerians and Nigeria must embrace a change in philosophy so that youths, adults, muslims, Christians, educated and illiterates are on the same page about what Nigeria is all about. The need for us all to embrace HSSE as a way of life and not just as a line item in the requirements to getting a contract is necessary if our country should move forward.
There are basic things that are required and are not being communicated loud and clear enough:
Some airlines are not fit for travel because they do not maintain their fleet adequately, pay their crew abysmally and their fleet comprise of aged airplanes.
Some roads are so bad, filled with port holes (and in some cases craters), do not have street lamps, are not marked, are very dangerous to ply and can only be considered as death traps
Many unemployed youths, miscreants, thugs, armed robbers and touts are waiting to rob, maim, kill or kidnap people from which they believe they can get a meal ticket.
There is a huge disconnect between the haves and the have not’s. There is so much poverty and unemployment amongst our youth and there is a very wide gap between the extremely rich and the terribly poor.
Environmental degradation from fumes, waste that come from generators apart from oil and gas waste pollution in the Niger Delta is causing major health issues.
Poverty and the desire to make quick money has led to many compromises in the area of HSSE.
We are very fortunate that in current times social media exposes raw information (data, pictures, videos and facts) within seconds; otherwise the mishaps may never be captured and planned for. Can we strategically entrench value addition and value creation into the psyche of all Nigerians from individual to community level rather than focus on state and national level only? With the dominant trend of poverty amongst 160 million Nigerians it is important we look at a very lean transformation from the bottom up so that people are not focused on short term, money grabbing or making activities which short-changes the polity in the short-term and them directly or indirectly in the long-term. If we improve on security and fix the roads more people would travel safely by roads. If we had a majority of qualified and competent people focused on tackling the issues in transportation, aviation, waterways and security we can save lives in an immeasurable quantity.
Nigerian Content must focus on long-term strategic activities that would translate into short and medium term gains for the masses. There is a need for Nigerians to audit their HSSE performance. We need to do more and create a consciousness that we are all one and the same on a journey of unity through diversity with a goal to create a better Nigeria. Creating a better future for the masses through established HSSE fundamentals is critical if we must avoid anarchy.