03 December 2014, Lagos – An organisation known as Concerned Nigerian Content Group (CNCG) has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to order an investigation into an alleged non-compliance with the Nigerian Content Act by the Chief Operating Officer of Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, Mr. William Stuart Connal.
The group which hailed President Jonathan for “the monumental achievements recorded in the country since his assumption of office, more importantly, the signing of the Nigerian Content Bill into Law which ushered in the inauguration of Nigerian Content Board in 2010,” berated Connal for refusing to comply with the Act.
In a statement issued and signed by the Chairman and Secretary of the organisation Ken Windu Wike and Kunle Adeyinka, respectively, yesterday which was made available to THISDAY, they alleged that the Briton had refused to give contract to qualified Nigerian companies and Nigerians, while also blaming him for other sundry “anti-Nigerian acts.”
According to the statement, “Connal has ingloriously acted with ignominy and persistently expressed his disdain for Nigerian companies and people through none award of contracts to indigenous companies with requisite qualifications, abuse of office and unlawful termination, retrenchment as well as casualisation of employment of most Nigerians in the employ of the company. This to all intents and purposes, is in breach and abeyance with the spirit and letters of the Nigerian Content Act.
“It is on record, that he (Connal) is the only expatriate in Nigeria that shows disrespect for local companies in favour of foreign companies from Europe in contract awards. His favouritism for foreign companies and nepotism instincts are well known. To further demonstrate his insensitivity and bitterness towards Nigeria, Nigerians and Nigerian Content Act, he sacked over six Nigerians from Seplat, thus, sending these vibrant Nigerians to the streets to wallow in abject poverty and compete with other ‘army of unemployed’ in the saturated labour market, at a time, in our national history, when the President is focusing on job creation, reduction of unemployment and wealth creation.
“It is on records that Connal awarded a contract worth Five Hundred Million US Dollar ($500,000,000) on Oben Gas project to Exterran LLC, a non-Nigerian company without approved NCD plan by the Nigerian Content Board. Connal has continued to demonstrate double standards in contract awards. He demonstrated this through his consistent patronage of companies from his home country.”
The group, in the statement, therefore called on the federal government to direct the minister of petroleum resources to investigate what they alleged as anti-Nigerian Content activities of Connal in Seplat as well as investigate his Local Content compliance in the award of $500 million contract for the Oben gas project to Exterran, a foreign company.
Also, CNCG urged the minister of interior and Comptroller General of Immigration Services to withdraw Connal’s Nigerian Visa and work permit, adding that the minister of labour and productivity should investigate the cases of the six staff of Seplat recently sacked by Connal and direct Seplat to reverse their sack.
Lastly, they called on the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board to monitor future contract award by Seplat to “ensure that those contracts that can be handled by Nigerian companies and contractors are not awarded to foreign companies.”
– Thiis Day