PENGASSAN seeks legislation for effective policing of oil-producing areas
• Raises the alarm over rising insecurity
Worried by rising insecurity in major oil and gas producing states in the country, members of the Port Harcourt zone of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) have demanded that the states be empowered with necessary legislations that would enable them to take charge of security issues in their domain.
Chairman, PENGASSAN, Port Harcourt Zone, Peter Onita, lamented that the zone, which harbours some major oil and gas producing states in the country such as Rivers, Bayelsa, Imo, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi states are seriously under security threats.
He said the era of centralised policing should be done away with and communities allowed to own and operate arms carrying personnel to protect the huge investments in oil and gas.
He warned that the current state of affairs in kidnapping for ransom, attacks on security agencies, especially the Nigeria Police and the rise of militia and ragtag armies, if allowed to persist, might have dire consequences and threats to food and economic security as well as the life of the citizens of not only the states under the zone with the resources but to the entire nation.
He pointed out that the association regarded it as unwise not to secure the zone which accounts for a large chunk of Nigeria’s oil and gas sector representing about 85 per cent of government revenues.
Onita called against COVID-19 instigated redundancies, wage reduction and arbitrary dismissal.
Rather, he said encouragement should be focused on opening new frontiers that would harness the abundant natural gas resources in the zone, the ninth-largest in terms of global gas reserves with over 200 Tcf, as well as the establishment of modular refineries and training facilities for the youth in the oil-bearing communities as a way to fighting criminalities and other social vices.