Group organizes capacity building for leaders of oil host communities in S’East


Leaders of OIL and Gas Host Communities from five states in the South East Nigeria have converged on Awka , Anambra state to brainstorm on the Provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act, PIA, 2021.

The aim is to build the capacity of the leaders of the concerned areas to enable them manage the outcome of oil in their areas without having crises that had been witnessed in the Niger Delta over the years before the PIA was enacted.

The event which was put together by the African Centre for Leadership , Strategy and Development, (Centre LSD) is being attended by leaders from Anambra , Abia, Delta, Ondo and Imo states.

The issues of trust, transparency, environmental degradation, oil spillage and crises within host communities and Companies were some of the Challenges that confronted Host Communities of OIL and Gas across Nigeria over the years.

To address these issues, the Federal government in 2021 enacted the Petroleum Industry Act with a view to ensure that the many cases identified are laid to rest and benefits both host and oil companies operating in the nation.

However according to the Ezecutive Director, African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development, Mr Monday Osasah it has been observed that there is the need for the leadership of the host communities to be abreast of the provisions in order to be guided accordingly.

Mr Osasah noted that since everything rises and falls on leadership, it became imperative to empower the community leaders who should engage with Setlors in the interest of all.

He Charged the Hostcom leaders to commit to deliberately understanding the provisions of the PIA so that they can advance the situation of their towns as the overall aim is to make Nigeria a better place with everyone joining hands.

The Commissioner for Petroleum and Mineral Resources in Anambra state, Mr Anthony Ifeanya said though the PIA is not the panacea to all problems , it is good that it has come into existence and operational in the country.

Mr Ifeanya however observed that the Implementation of the PIA with regards to the Host Community Trust Fund is slow , hence raising apprehension withing the communities.

According to him, there is the urgent need for confidence building between the Operators , the state and the host communities which could be made possible through mutual Trust and Transparency.

In a presentation , the Programme Coordinator, Centre LSD, Mr Vincent Dania noted that the PIA brought clarity to the various issues that had posed serious challenges to the people and understanding it will no doubt help the leaders to hold OIL operators and government accountable in terms of development.

Presenting a paper titled, Strategic Leadership Skills, the Director of Strategy , Centee LSD, Mr Itia Otabor , harped on the need for the leaders to be Strategic to provide vision and direction for the growth of their various communities.

According to him, if the leaders of the OIL and Gas Host communities are sincere and purposeful, the 3 percent provided in the Petroleum Industry Act is enough to transform the various areas involved without rancor and unnecessary protest.

Some of the Host Community leaders including Evangelist Ifeanyi Dioha from Imo, Chief Maxwell Nwagbara from Abia, His Royal Majesty, Oba O.I Jimosun from Ondo state , as well as Mrs Charity Chunwuba feom Anambra state expressed confidence that the PIA is well implemented would go a long way to address many of the issues.

They however noted that some of the provisions were not friendly and did not consider the host communities including Section 257( 2) which provides that host communities should work with operators to protect their investments even when the surveillance contracts are given to people who are not from the communities involved.

For his part,Chairman Abambra state Civil Society Network, Prince Chris Azor noted that in the Host Community Development Trust (HCDT), investors are required to contribute 3% of their operational expenditure to the HCDT, which funds development projects in host communities.

According to him, despite that , there are required procedures to engage and ensure equity and inclusion in decision making, participation in benefit sharing for sustainable development which makes is imperative for more of capacity Building like the one organized by Centre LSD.

Our Correspondent reports that the traditional ruler of Omasi community of Anambra State, Igwe Doctor Benjamin Okeji, the Omo Okparaku of Orugu Kingdom , Delta state were also part of the two day event packaged by African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development. ( Centre LSD), a Non Governmental Organization that works towards strengthening an Intersectional Aprroach to Natural Resource Governance in Nigeria.

By Ifeizu Joe

Ifeizu is a seasoned journalist and Managing Editor of TheRazor. He has wide knowledge of Anambra State and has reported the state objectively for over a decade.

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