25 May 2014, Lagos – The oil and gas sector is the major source of revenue generation for Nigeria’s economy. The sector is always in the news for reasons ranging from lack of transparency by those managing the sector to the activities of multinational oil companies. Recently, President Goodluck Jonathan disclosed that $1billion is needed to tackle oil theft in the country, even as he read riot act to oil thieves.
Mrs. Grace Aghoghovbia, an expert in strategic management and the President, Niger Delta Advocacy group in the United Kingdom, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) advocating for accountability in the sector and sustainable development of the nation’s economy to create jobs, speaks on the need for government to ensure better living standards of people in the region.
What is the significance of your NGO in terms of economic development, especially as Nigeria just hosted the World Economic Forum on inclusive growth and creation of jobs?
Our group is saddled with the responsibility of highlighting issues affecting the development of Nigeria’s economy, the Niger Delta and its inhabitants due to constant neglect of its environment by the multinational and indigenous oil companies doing business in that region.
We want better living conditions for the people, who have suffered neglect emanating from poor environmental degradation, oil spillage and gas flaring from the extractive processes by multinational and indigenous oil companies in the area. We are also campaigning for globally recognised corporate social responsibility principles, with particular emphasis on the Indonesian Model, to be embodied by companies involved in the extraction of oil in Niger Delta communities.
The President disclosed that 1$billion is needed to tackle oil theft, even as he read a riot act to oil thieves in the country. As an expert in strategic management, what is your take on this?
We want transparency in all the activities going on in that sector of the economy. So, government must put measures in place to ensure greater transparency, accountability as well as mandatory corporate social responsibility for multinational and indigenous extractive industry players in oil and gas. This is the only way we can achieve tangible growth in the industry.
This is not just about oil, we want inclusive development of the nation’s economy, creation of jobs and poverty reduction. Recently government came up with a list of different natural resources in all the states of the federation. Notwithstanding, it is a known fact that the Niger Delta region has suffered years of neglect. The terrain is in a precarious situation. All tiers of government hold it as a duty to do the needful in developing the region. We are calling on the multinationals and indigenous oil firms as a matter of urgency to re-locate their administrative head offices to the region, where the crude oil is taken from.
As the Chief Executive Officer of Unique Personnel, UK Limited, how have you impacted on the lives of common people in Nigeria?
The company has positively impacted on many individuals through the services we provide. Through the ongoing employment, we have been able to empower women who were out of work for a long time, mostly due to raising their children. We also fueled the provision of work for most people within the community. Through our active involvement in the local community, we provided work placement for secondary school students and apprentices to help foster a brighter future for many youths.