Wow! The live band is set, the champagne is on ice, the red carpet is ready to be rolled out, the paparazzi is out, waiting for snaps of a towering oil glant who have achieved Golden Jubilee in extraction of oil and gas in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
How time flies, record has it that Eni & P Division commenced activities in Nigeria in 1962 through a wholly owned subsidiary – Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited.
Praise God, Activities of Eni in Nigeria grew tremendously over the years resulting in establishment of other companies, namely Agip Energy and Natural Resources (Nigeria) Agip Exploration Limited which operates in the shallow waters offshore and the Nigerian Agip Exploration Limited which concentrated on the deep-water frontier region.
It is true that since 1962 Eni activities in Nigeria have demonstrated a strong commitment to active involvement of Nigeria and her people in its operations. An eloquent testimony to this commitment was the pioneering participating offer (Joint Venture) to the Federal Government of Nigeria upon commercial discovery of hydrocarbons. There are various highlights of NAOC’s commitment.
Credit must be given to Nigerian Agip Oil Company for pioneering the conservation and development of the nation’s gas resources, and indeed she has executed several gas development projects targeted both at the domestic and export markets.
NAOC built her first gas recycling plant at Akri-Oguta (in joint venture with shell) progressively invested in targe scale Gas injection plant in 1985 with the construction of Obiafu-Obrikom Gas plant, with initial capacity of 270 MMSCF per day, which is now upgraded to 400 MMSCF per day. Closely followed by the kwale Gas plant in 1987, with capacity for 75 MMSCF per day, now upgraded to 150 MMSCF per day. Kudos for diversifying investments for the company.
Furthermore, NAOC signed a Gas supply agreement with the Rivers State Government for the supply of 36 MMSCF/d of gas to the state’s owned power plant located in Omoku, headquarters of Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni Local Government Area. Of a truth, it is a unique initiative by NAOC to support the Government in promoting the economic and social development of the state. But today as I write this piece the city of Omoku and its environs is in total darkness in the last two weeks and without potable drinking water with her Agip-China roads – now pot holes – dead traps.
NAOC, your score sheet of extracting hydrocarbons from the Niger Delta is second to none. Your effort to boost utilisation of gas resources in Nigeria is laudable. More grease to your elbow, more oil to your Omls, more gas to your gas master plan.
It is unfortunate that in almost 50 years of operations in Nigeria, you have a fair record in your community relations efforts. Sincerely I put it to you that to whom much is given, much is expected.
NAOC as a corporate entity has taken so much from us, your host communities, as such expected much from you. Taking the ONELGA Community as a case study – the total value of oil and gas extracted from ONELGA in the last forty seven years is in excess of 350 billion US dollars. Yet, till date, there is no visible sign that the area had produced such staggering amount of money. No palliatives to cushion the effect of the soil/earth degradation.
Kindly note that: Community Relations, as a function of Public Relations is an organisation planned active and sustained participation within a community to maintain and enhance its environment to the benefit of both the organisation and the community.
Subsequently, an organisation (i.e. NAOC) needs to marry the community it settles with, especially a peaceful community like Ogbaland. The need for community relations might be seen as wife/husband relations.
As NAOC roll out the drums in celebration of fifty years in Nigeria, she must come to realisation that sound community relations is for social growth.
And community relations, as a concept, refers to all the activities undertaken by a corporate organisation on behalf of its host community/publics. It is a shame that oil companies blow their trumpets to the highest decibel because they grudgingly decided to spend meager amounts to execute a project in a community or assist an individual in need of financial aid.
To the undiscerning mind, it would seem true, that the oil industry is really spending millions of naira to execute community development projects in their areas of operations, but rarely is the question asked: how much do these firms make from such communities?
Thank God, for President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda. Probably things will go right, it is a known fact that the Nigeria government do not know how much crude is actually being lifted by the oil companies, as certain oil companies fill their high capacity vessels without prejudice, at the expense of the nation’s ignorance et al.
NAOC at 50, I think a new dawn has to begin now. I call on Hon. Otelemabara Dan Amachree led Rivers State House of Assembly to enact legislation to curb the non-challant attitude of oil companies and other expatriate firms. A fixed percentage of the companies’ profits must be ploughed back into the host communities in the form of quality projects, daily need manufacturing industries as to cut down unemployment rate amongst our teeming youth, total scholarship – both domestic and overseas. With these in place, then the companies can be seen as partnering with their host communities.
NAOC, should look at areas, she fell in the past years and make amends. In year 2000, late senator (Dr) Ibiapuye Martins Yellowe, then senate committee chairman on Petroleum, invited me to cover a one day brainstorming session tagged” A armonious Investor Friendly Environment” seminar held at catering Rest House, Ahoada, Rivers State. The Seminar was put together by NAOC.
Agip ex-Chief Image maker, Bashorun Akin Aruwajoye said and I quote “Agip is charting a new course in her relationship with her host communities, this is because we listen, our plans is to see how we can assist our host communities, using ONELGA as a prototype, a framework of moving forward towards achieving industrial harmony. Agip will be more pro-active, responding positively to the complains and needs of the communities within its operations.”
Almost twelve years after these beautiful words, the people of ONELGA is yet to see words being translated to action as promised. ONELGA has the most peaceful environment and Agip is operating unhindered.
ONELGA is the highest oil and gas producing community in Nigeria. The community also host Agip’s LNG Gas supply project. In the light of this, I call on NAOC to recognise the significance of partnership and community stake holding and without much ado, uplift our sons Prince Nwachukwu Obi, to the position of Divisional Public Relations Manager and Chief Okoroma as security manager, respectively. For a sound fifty years of excellence in Nigeria, Agip should promote all our sons and daughters who have proved their mettle via sound service delivery.
Finally, I use this medium to call on the amiable Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Chibike Rotimi Amaechi, CON to use his good office and compel Nigerian Agip Oil Comlpany to relocate its operational headquarters to Port Harcourt or Omoku city. And also enforce the first law enacted under your leadership of the Rivers State House of Assembly that ht position of Human Resources Manager be reserved for erudite Rivers Men/Women, for all companies operating in Rivers State. Happy Golden Jubilee NAOC.
Five Abducted MWUN Members, Three Others Regain Freedom
The five kidnapped members of the Nigeria Maritime Workers Union, (MWUN) in Rivers State have regained their freedom from their captors.
The five maritime workers were released along with three other passengers that were kidnapped along Kula-Abonema waterway in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State, last Monday.
.Their release was secured on Saturday evening sequel to the intervention of the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Bashir Jamoh, and other stakeholders.
Jamoh broke the news of their unconditional release in a statement to newsmen on Saturday night.
The NIMASA boss, shortly after the release of the abducted five, informed the President-General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, at about 8:15 pm through a telephone conversation.
The abductees, Jamoh said, were all in good physical condition, saying the MWUN President General would provide a detailed report on the incidents surrounding the abduction early last week.
Jamoh did not, however, disclose if any ransom was paid to the abductors before securing their release.
The Tide recalls that the eight victims, including five MWUN members, were whisked away by gunmen suspected to be sea robbers while travelling from Kula in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State to Port Harcourt for a meeting.
The hoodlums were said to have demanded for N10 million ransom to free their victims.
But the MWUN leadership in Rivers State vowed not to pay any ransom to the abductors of its five staff, and instead demanded for their unconditional release.
The union chairman, Comrade Jonah Jumbo, had given a 30-day ultimatum to the kidnappers to free its members, failure of which, the union would shut down all maritime operations in the state.
“In one month, if they are not released, we will shut down all maritime operations in the state”, he had threatened.
By: Chinedu Wosu
IMO Vows To Stop Piracy In GoG
A global agency, International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has vowed to stop the menace of piracy and other criminal activities in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).
The organisation noted that the continuous activities of piracy and armed robbery along the Gulf of Guinea were capable of crippling international shipping in the region.
According to IMO, piracy and other criminal activities along GoG damage the world economy and trade.
The Secretary-General of IMO, Kitack Lim, who stated this during the inaugural meeting of the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum and Shared Awareness and De-confliction conference (GoG-MCF/SHADE, said, he was encouraged by the establishment of the forum.
“This situation has continued for several years and these illegal acts must be stopped. Now is the time to make real progress”, he said
Lim said IMO would continue to support training and other capacity-building activities for Gulf of Guinea states as well as assist cooperative regional efforts under the framework of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct.
The Yaounde Code of Conduct is an agreement signed by countries in the region that commit to working to repress piracy and armed robbery against shipping activities.
The secretary insisted that the security situation in the GoG remains at the top of the organisation.
He said that the GoG-MCF/SHADE was aimed at facilitating shared awareness and de-conflicting activities in the region by linking all relevant stakeholders to advanced and coordinated maritime security activities.
Lim acknowledged the positive strides in the area of inter-agency cooperation and response on a regional and international level, especially the anti-piracy legislation passed by Ghana, recent convictions of pirates in Togo, and Nigeria’s Deep Blue Project.
“At the request of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Gulf of Guinea Commission, IMO continues to work with the ICC Yaoundé, including supporting a series of regional expert level online meetings aiming to assess the implementation and sustainability of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct and to provide recommendations to the three organisations”, he said.
Seafarers Lament Effects Of Covid-19
The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) says the impact of Coronavirus pandemic, also known as Covid-19, in the country is negatively affecting the welfare of seafarers in the sector.
The union noted that the pandemic had created huge unemployment and forced investors to abandon the maritime sector.
The newly elected treasurer of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) in Rivers State, Comrade Jonah Jumbo, disclosed this during an interview with The Tide.
Comrade Jonah regretted that the pandemic had crippled maritime activities globally, saying most ship owners and management have abandoned shipping activities, thereby affecting the welfare of seafarers.
He said the Covid-19 pandemic had created unemployment amongst crew members in the sector as ship owners refused to engage certified seafarers on board vessels.
According to him, the Covid-19 pandemic has forced many investors in the marine sector to abandon their business as most sea vessels were stranded on the sea for months without discharging their cargoes.
“The impact of the pandemic is hitting harder on the welfare of the seafarers and their families.
“Investors in the marine sectors are no longer coming into the country to invest due to the global pandemic”, he said.
Jonah whose maritime activities span through eight states including Lagos, Kogi, Ondo, Bayelsa, Rivers, Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Delta, called for prayers to salvage the maritime sector.
By: Chinedu Wosu
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