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Uzodimma stresses need for cooperation between oil companies, host communities

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Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo has advised on the need for oil companies and their host communities to agree on establishment of social and infrastructural facilities in the interest of the people.

According to him, establishing facilities such as good roads, standard hospitals and health centres, electricity as well as training will prepare Nigerians and the host communities to take over the management of such companies.

Uzodimma made the call on Tuesday while receiving the Senate and House of Representatives Joint Committee on Petroleum and Industry Bill (PIB) led by Senator Bassey Akpan at the Government House in Owerri.

This was contained in a press release signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Oguwike Nwachukwu.

The statement said that the governor urged operators of Nigeria Oil and Gas to desist from making different laws and regulations for Nigeria alone.

According to the governor, what is obtainable in Nigeria by all standards should not be different from what is in other climes.

He also decried the fact that the 45 year- old Petroleum Industry Act is still without amendment in Nigeria when the country, host communities and economy have undergone several changes.

He insisted that the communities, government and oil operators need to look at the modus operandi obtainable in Europe, America and Asia and create a value chain that will allow for patriotic partnership.

He enjoined the senators to make the provision of social facilities and corporate social responsibility for the communities a must in the proposed annual budget of the oil companies.

He also urged them to consider this as part of their oversight functions so that when achieved, the host communities will be happy and there will be relative peace in those communities.

The governor appealed to traditional rulers of host communities to stop quarrels among themselves and focus rather on asking for social facilities that will be long lasting and beneficial to them.

Earlier, the Leader of the team, Akpan, said the visit was to interact with the host communities to understand their peculiarities and challenges.

Akpan said this would be built into the Bill for passage by the Senate and the House of Representative soon.

The chairman was accompanied on the visit by the Vice Chairman of the committee, Senator Ifeanyi Uba and Senator Barinada Mpigi, assured the host communities of the protection of their interest.

He also informed the governor that Petroleum Industry Bill, which had suffered a long time set back in the National Assembly will “definitely see the light of the day soon.”

Ugonne Uzoma

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