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Okowa urges oil firms to build synergy with host-communities

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Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has urged oil companies to be fair and just in their dealings with host-communities for an uninterrupted oil and gas production in the state.

The governor made the call in Asaba at a stakeholders’ meeting to resolve a petition to the Delta State government by Olomoro community, host to OML 30 in Isoko South Local Council of the state, against Heritage Energy, on non-consideration of indigenes in award of contracts, renewal of Freedom To Operate (FTO) by contracting firms, employment of indigenes and delay in payment of General Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) funds by Heritage Energy, operators of the marginal field.

Okowa, represented by the state Commissioner for Oil and Gas, Emman Amgbaduba, thereafter, ordered Heritage Energy to renew the FTO within 72 hours and ensure adequate funding of the GMoU on or before December 1, 2019, and consideration of indigenes when there is a vacancy.

He, however, warned communities against blockage of roads and unnecessary protests without first writing to the state government through the Ministry of Oil and Gas, saying: “Let me first commend Olomoro community for seeking justice through due process. It is important for oil companies to ensure that they are fair and just in their dealings with host-communities to ensure a peaceful environment for oil production.

“As a government, we are irrevocably committed to ensuring a better deal for our host-communities and as such, we encourage oil companies to do everything humanly possible to make peace with their host communities. As a prelude to resolving this dispute, I urge Heritage Energy to ensure a renewal of the FTO within 72 hours of this meeting and also to ensure adequate funding provisions for the operationalisation of the GMoU with the host-communities.

“To also foster better relations with the community, Heritage Energy should ensure they consider qualified indigenes of host-communities in their recruitment process and contract awards in the spirit of the Local Content Act.”

In his remarks, Head, Community Relations and Security of Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited, Sylvester Okoh, pledged the company’s commitment to comply with government directives to resolve all FTOs and implementation of the GMoU with the community, assuring that equity and fairness will be applied in their dealings with their host-communities.

President-General of Olomoro Community, Pastor Blessing Agboro, also expressed appreciation to the state government for the timely intervention and assuring that the community will continue to follow the path of the law in their agitations for a better deal from the company.

The meeting was attended by the management of Heritage Energy, the Commander, 222 Battalion, Nigerian Army, Maj. Ogidan, community leaders and others.


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