Posted by News Express | 13 December 2020 | 794 times
By DANIEL ABIA, Port Harcourt
The management of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) has been urged to adopt the local content laws as applicable in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria to avoid victimisation of the host communities.
In a letter to the managing director of Agip weekend, the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) blasted the company for its overbearing lopsided appointments and promotion which sees one ethnic group in Nigeria dominating others.
The letter titled “systematic decimation of Niger Deltans in NAOC and the need to put an end to it”, the Ijaw group said it had been inundated with several petitions on ethnic profiling, work victimisation and annihilation of Niger Delta indigenes working in the company by the host communities in the Niger Delta, the operational base of the company.
Signed by the IYC Deputy National President, Saviour Olali, the letter warned that it would be in the best interest of the company to adopt the local content policy of the Nigerian government so that the indigenes of the host communities of Agip and indeed, the Niger Delta people, could benefit from the system.
The council specifically accused the Human Resources Manager, Mrs. Callista Agozu, of perpetuating the dominance of her Igbo ethnic stock, describing it as legendary.
“Mrs. Agozu and her likes as sowers of wind, should be ready to reap the whirlwind,” the IYC warned.
It alleged, among other things, the willful denial of employment opportunities and contract jobs to indigenes of the host communities, deliberate and marked annihilation of Niger Deltans working in NOAC and stunted growth in their place of work, as well as being subjected to inhuman treatment and victimisation.
“The above characterisation of what Niger Deltans are experiencing from the NAOC are in fragrant violation of the Nigerian Content Act and other operational laws governing the oil and gas industry.
“As a council, we are aware that there are conspicuous provisions in the Local Content Act that provides for indigenous participation, empowerment, progression to leadership positions in the Oil and Gas Industry and capacity building.
“These are in consonant with universal principles that guarantee community development and the enhancement of individual ability to raise to the pinnacle of his or her career.
“Multinationals and their subsidiaries operating in the region have always observed more in breach the laws of the land governing their operations. The NAOC is one of such companies operating in the region that has not kept faith with the people of the Niger Delta. The company has always acted at variance with the wishes and aspirations of the people of the region,” the letter said in part.
The Ijaw youths called on the management of NAOC to recalibrate its unfavorable policies to the people of the region to create the atmosphere of trust and confidence between the host communities and the company.
IYC, however, recommended that the NAOC management should empanel a fact finding committee to be headed by senior management staff members to verify the allegations and make their findings public.
“The Human Resources Manager and her cohorts should be made to face disciplinary actions for all the atrocities she has been committing in that office, to serve as a deterrent to others who may want to follow her footsteps.
“That the NAOC should respect local laws and adhere strictly to its provisions, especially laws governing the oil and gas industry, by this way the company would not run at cross-purpose with the people of the region.
“We believe strongly that the NAOC being a multi-national oil and gas entity would adopt international best practices in addressing genuine concerns and grievances expressed by the people; on whose ancestral lands they are carrying out their daily operations,” it said. (Sunday Independent)
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