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Reps summon oil firms CEOs over alleged mistreatment of host communities

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The House of Representatives yesterday summoned officials of 14 oil firms to explain alleged maltreatment of their host communities in the Niger Delta region.Co-Chairman, joint House Committees on Treaties, Protocols Agreements and Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Ossai Nicholas Ossai at a hearing on “Holistic Review of All Agreements and Momoranda of Understanding Between Oil Companies and Host Communities,” gave the oil firms up until next Tuesday to give details of the agreements with their host communities.

The oil firms are, Seplat Oil, New Cross Oil, Pillar Oil, Sterling Oil Global, Ran Ocean Oil, Niger Delta Company, MD Western, Orion Oil, Eroton, Lee Engineering, Connoil, Aiteo and NPDC.

Ossai (Delta PDP) threatened to sanction the oil firms over their alleged refusal to appear before the committee to explain their level of compliance to laid down rules relating to the wellbeing of their host communities.

Representatives of various host communities, who testified before the committees, accused several oil firms of failing to live up to their responsibilities of providing basic amenities like potable water, health facilities, access roads, scholarships and employment opportunities to the people of the communities.

Specifically, the communities indicted Shell BP, AGIP, Chevron, ExxonMobil and Total as the worst culprits of the infraction.

Representatives of the communities in Abia, Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta and Imo, among other states in the Niger Delta disclosed this at the committee’s public hearing yesterday in Abuja.

The hearing was essentially convened to fashion out ways of fostering peace between the oil companies and their host communities.

Specifically, Secretary of Omoba representing 12 communities of Etche 2 Clusters in Rivers State, Loveday Okere, said SPDC had been operating in the community since the 1950s with no projects to benefit the people.

Meanwhile, Minister of Environment, Dr. Abubakar Mohammed, restated Federal Government’s determination to review the cleanup process of Ogoni land.

He stated this when a delegation of Host Communities of Nigeria (HOSCON) visited him in Abuja, insisting that the government was interested in the execution of the project, stressing, “We need to go back to the drawing board on the project.”

On the Implementation Committee on Gas Flare Penalty Fund, the minister promised to treat the request with dispatch, adding that the processes were being considered and would soon be made public.

He maintained that the Ogoni cleanup project has lingered for years, explaining that President Muhammadu Buhari stepped in to salvage it by setting up a supervising agency and the Ministry of Environment.

Earlier, National Chairman of HOSCON, Mike Emuh, enjoined the Federal Government to finalise executive gazette for the release and payment of N98b gas flare penalty fund to host communities.


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