Ben Dunno, Warri
The Delta state Advocacy Committee Against Vandalism of Oil and Gas Facilities has urged the National Assembly to kick-start the process of abrogating some decrees in the oil and gas sector that confers total ownership of land on the Federal Government against the wish of oil bearing communities
This appeal was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of a 2-day conference on Securing Oil and Gas Installations in Delta state (Phase1) held in Ogulagha, in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State.
The conference was aimed to address issues of vandalism of oil and gas facilities and installations, oil theft, illegal bunkering and refining and the attendant environmental challenges.
Chairman of the committee and deputy governor of Delta State, Barr. Kinsley Otuaro, who read the communiqué, while addressing newsmen, in Warri, noted that the laws had, over the years, created strain relationship between oil companies and their host communities.
The deputy governor also maintained that it has become absolutely necessary to abrogate such laws as they have completely alienated host communities from being part owners of the commodities buried beneath their lands.
He mentioned such oil and gas laws that should be abrogated to include, Oil Pipeline Act of 1959, Oil Terminal Dues Act of 1965, Petroleum Act of 1963, Land Use Act 1978, Associated Gas Reinjection Act 1979 and the Land (Title Vesting) Act of 1993, among others.
The committee, which advised other oil-bearing communities in various local government areas of the state to meet regularly to appraise situation in their areas, also urged International Oil Companies (IOCs), to involve host communities in securing pipeline and other installations in their territories.
“Conference is of the firm belief that no amount of force and deployment of Nigeria’s instruments of coercion can for example fully secure oil and gas facilities as much as host communities would do.”
He, however, urged state and Federal Government to ensure that oil companies comply with best practices both in their relationship with communities and in the technical standards of their operations.
Otuaro said that toward diversifying the Delta state economy, the conference have suggested a comprehensive agricultural policy that would encourage youths into agriculture as means of livelihood.