31 October 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari, Minister of State Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu; the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB, to stop what it termed “the internal colonialism and marginalisation of Niger Delta communities by Nigerian oil bloc owners.
President of IYC, Mr. Eric Omare, made the call while addressing protesting IYC members of Gbaramatu, Ogbe-Ijoh, Diebiri, Ogulagha, Iduwini, Kou and Egbema clans in Delta State and parts of Bayelsa and Edo states.
The protesting IYC clan executive members led by Mr. Doubra Wuruya of Gbaramatu and Mr. Smart Okosu of Ogbe-Ijoh Clans, in their address to the IYC President, expressed dissatisfaction with “internal colonialism” of Niger Delta people in the oil and gas industry.
According to the IYC clan leaders, “since the take-over of most assets previously owned by multinationals by the indigenous companies such as Aiteo, Seplat Petroleum, Neconde Energy Limited, Shoreline Group, Dubri Oil Company Limited and other local companies in line with the local content drive in the oil and gas industry, the local operators have introduced practices that amount to internal slavery of the Niger Delta host communities.
“These new oil asset operators apart from owning and operating the oil blocks, have also incorporated several companies with which they do lucrative oil servicing contracts within their bloc areas that ought to be done by local people and even employment opportunities that are supposed to be given to the host communities are given to the kindred of the Nigerian assets owners to the detriment of the Ijaw and Niger Delta oil and gas host communities.”
The IYC clan leaders stated that this new strategy by the Nigerian oil bloc owners is not only condemnable but it is also illegal as it amounts to conflict of interest for oil bloc owners to own subsidiary companies with which they execute key contracts for the operator to the detriment of the communities..
They specifically accused Neconde Energy for using Nestoil Nigeria Limited to execute most of the oil service contract jobs in Oil Mining Lease 42 oil fields namely Odidi I & II, Egwa I & II, Ajuju/ Batan field and Jones creek in Ogbe-Ijoh, Diebiri and Gbaramatu Kingdoms to the detriment of the indigenes of the host communities who have the capacity to do similar jobs.
The protesting Ijaw youths warned that the youths of the affected communities may be forced to take their destiny into their hands by disrupting company operations if these issues are not addressed by President Buhari, Ibe Kachikwu, NNPC and NCDMB.
Addressing the protesting youths, the President of IYC, Mr. Eric Omare, condemned the deprivation of host communities by Nigerian oil bloc owners who are beneficiaries of the local content policy, which he said was a product of the Niger Delta agitation.
Omare recalled that the Local Content Act was the first bill that was signed into law by former President Goodluck Jonathan on resumption of office as part of efforts to address the Niger Delta agitation.
“Local content law in the oil and gas industry was not introduced to turn Nigerians from other part of the country to overlords and internal oil colonialists to the Niger Delta people, but primarily to empower the people of the region to participate in the oil industry.”
He recalled that IYC under one of his predecessors, Mr. Mieabiye Kuromiema, as President initially negotiated five percent on behalf of the communities in the divestment of OML 42 but this was not implemented by the Petroleum Ministry and Neconde Energy Limited.
He promised to follow up the issue to ensure that OML 42 communities in Ogbe-Ijoh, Diebiri and Gbaramatu Kingdoms are given their five percent interest in the OML 42 oil fields.
The IYC leader therefore called for the introduction of what he called ‘community content in the oil industry’ to address the emerging marginalization of local people by Nigerian oil bloc owners.
“We call on President Buhari, Dr. Maikanti Baru of NNPC and Engr. Simbi Wabote of NCDMB, to investigate the allegation of oil bloc operators having sister companies to carry out key oil servicing jobs to the detriment of the host communities and in violation of the conflict of interest rule in corporate governance.”
Omare also reiterated one of the 16 points demands of PANDEF to award oil blocs to Niger Deltans, starting from the forth-coming marginal oil fields allocation.