By Moses Uwagbale
Nigeria has advised International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the Niger Delta Region to honour Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) entered into with host communities to avoid crises that might lead to shutdown of operations.
Sen. Ita Enang, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, said this in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Edet Etuk in Abuja.
Enang spoke during a meeting with representatives of Umusadege Community, Utagba kingdom/Ogbe Kingdom in Ndokwa, Delta.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting focused on the non-payment of ground rent and for peaceful resolution with the Oil and gas operating companies in the region.
He said that the Federal Government would not tolerate any form of violence between the companies and the host Communities, given the fragile nature of the economy due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to him, the Nigerian Government will not also tolerate disruption of its economy due to irreconcilable differences between the host communities and IOC which may lead to violations of the terms contained in the MoUs.
“This is because revenue from oil and gas transactions and the sustainable peace of the Niger Delta Region is strategic for the implementation of government policies and programmes at all levels,” he said.
Earlier, Chief Augustine Maduagwu, representative of Umusadege –Ogbe Community appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene by calling to order all defaulting Oil and Gas Companies to pay compensation and penalties for non-renewal of MoUs and failure to pay ground rent to the host communities.
According to Maduagwu, the difficult and provoking situation of the companies have made their agitation to be tense and restive as people in the community are seriously threatening total shut down of their operations.
“We want the president to save us from the high handedness of the companies by urging them to promptly engage with the community to develop, produce and sign a mutually beneficially Agreement between the two parties. “We also want the companies to pay without further delay the long accrued compensatory benefits, including projects funds and unpaid 42 years land rents to Umusadege-Ogbe community.