AKHA Joint Committees Receive Report From Core Oil Communities On Local Content Law

The Akwa Ibom House of Assembly (AKHA) joint committees on Special Projects, Monitoring and Implementation, Labour and Productivity, Petroleum matters and Boundary and Conflict Resolution have received reports from the core four local government areas on Local Content Law for proper study and further actions.  They include Eket, Ibeno, Esit Eket and Onna local government areas respectively. This is sequel to a motion brought before the House on "The Need for Compliance with the Provisions of the Nigerian Local Content Law and Memorandum of Agreement by Multinational and Oil Servicing Companies Operating within the territorial Waters of Akwa Ibom State. Presenting the reports to the joint committees chairman Elder Aniekan Uko, on behalf of  other chairmen in a meeting at the Assembly Complex recently, the chairman of Eket Local Government Council, Mr Frank Archibong, highlighted some sections of the submitted report, appealing for a periodic reports to assess the level of compliance on local content by companies operating in the shores of Akwa Ibom State.  The senior special assistant to the governor on petroleum matters, Sir Victor Etefia, called for a central platform to control the oil labour unions, adding that oil company operation was a game that required technicalities and expressed satisfaction over the timely intervention of the 7th Assembly. He appealed to the committee to empower the oil communities with the instrument to confronting the oil companies to respect the Local Content Law.  "The House should look at the Local Content Law and come out with an agency whereby they will play a kind of oversight function, Etefia stated.  The commissioner for labour represented by Mr Ikpe, disclosed to the committee that Local Content Office in Bayelsa State has not related to any office in Akwa Ibom State, a situation he described as unpleasant to the state as they related mostly to their people in Rivers, leaving Akwa Ibom to their fate.  He added that most companies operating in the shores of the state do not have offices, making it extremely difficult to mount any pressure on them for the rights of the people.  Speaking on behalf of the Industrial Labour Committee, Conrade Iniubong Essien appealed to the government to ensure that equity of the people in the oil blocs were protected, describing it as a generational asset as there was nothing wrong in Akwa Ibom owning an oil well as was seen and obtainable in Bayelsa, Rivers and other places. The joint committees chairman lauded all stakeholders for their attendance and useful information, describing it as a good step in the right direction towards getting what rightfully belongs to Akwa Ibom State. Uko who is the member for Ibesikpo Asutan State Constituency, assured that after the committees' work, the House will come up with a bill that will put to rest most of the complaints that have been raised.  "One reason for this committee was to bring back what rightfully belongs to us. We need this information to give us what to use in engaging the stakeholders when we will play host to them in the course of finding a lasting solution to this ugly trend. It can be seen that Akwa Ibom State was running at a loss compared to what other states are getting from the oil companies operating in their shores. He stated. The lawmaker hoped that they will do everything humanly possible as a House in ensuring that what belongs to Akwa Ibom was claimed as they cannot have oil companies enjoying, while the state was singled out and maltreated by the operating oil companies.  Meanwhile, the committees are to go back and study the various reports presented by the stakeholders, assuring that they will do justice to the matter for the benefit of the affected persons.

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