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Akwa Ibom develops MoU template for oil firms, host communities

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Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom. Photo: TWITTER/MRUDOMEMMANUEL

Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Power and Petroleum Development, yesterday, disclosed that it has developed a standardised Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) template for negotiation between oil and gas firms operating in the state and their host communities.

Commissioner for Power and Petroleum Development, John Etim, disclosed this at a stakeholder meeting to review the MoU between Frontier Oil Limited, Savannah Energy and their host communities in Uyo.

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He said the move became necessary due to several cases of violation of agreements by oil companies operating in the state, resulting in misgivings and tensions with host communities.

He said some of the provisions in the template include a three-year duration for MoUs, a sharing formula to be negotiated for the host communities and MoU Implementation Committees (MICs) to monitor the execution of MoUs through their monitoring committee.

Etim explained that the provisions were aimed at checking violation of agreements and sharp practices in the oil firms’ execution of their corporate social responsibility (CSR).

He restated the ministry’s resolve to fulfil its mandate on power and petroleum development in the state, as well as manage petroleum-related issues in oil-producing communities in line with the state government’s completion agenda.

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The commissioner pointed out that it was the right time to begin the process of reviewing the MoU signed on August 31, 2016, as section 4 of the agreement provided for a review six months before its expiration.

Etim, who expressed satisfaction that the CSRs in the agreement were executed for the benefits of the people, however, commended the Uquo Field MoU Implementation Committee (UFMIC), Community Development Foundation and Frontier Oil for their efforts.

He urged the host communities to nominate members into the Technical Committee for review of the agreement to be completed in June 2021, in readiness for stakeholders’ ratification before the expiration of the former document in July.

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Speaking, Commissioner for Women Affairs & Social Welfare, Dr. Ini Adiakpan, who noted that the essence of the MoU was to ensure a cordial relationship between the companies and their host communities, reminded all parties of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s intolerance for restiveness.

On his part, Operations Director of Frontier Oil Limited, Wole Adefila, who commended Etim for the early call for the review meeting, described the company as one alive to its responsibilities and pledged commitment to building a robust relationship with the host communities and the state government.

Stakeholders including Chairman, Esit Eket Council, Iniobong Robson, paramount rulers of Eket, Edidem E. Abia and Esit Eket, Edidem Ubong Assam, among others, expressed delight at the creation of the new ministry and negotiated better sharing formula for their communities.

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