Mr Kenedy West, Senior Special Adviser to Gov Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa on Wednesday urged Minister of State for Petroleum Dr Ibe Kachikwu to include regional interest in train-7 of the NLNG.
West an aide to Dickson on Niger Delta youth matters said the provision of opportunities for host communities would meaningfully engage youths in productive ventures and hence curb restiveness.
West who made the call in an interview in Yenagoa said the economic interest of the host community of the NLNG in Bonny Island in Rivers was crucial to the success of the project.
He said that the call for the protection of host community interest was in line with the objectives of the federal government espoused by vice President Yemi Osinbajo when he visited the region in 2016.
He said that members of the host community of the NLNG project were being left out of build up activities for the train -7 of the project with the symposium and sensitisation workshop on the project slated for October 15 in Abuja.
He said that hosting the symposium outside Bonny was against the regional interest of the Niger delta region as well as against the local content policy as espoused by the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry act 2010..
West took a swipe at Engr Simbi Wabote, Executive Secretary of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) for failure to prevail on NLNG to consider the interests of the local communities.
“Wabote has performed abysmally low in his tenure at NCDMB, and it is worrisome, that is why we want the Minister to quickly step in and ensure that these anomalies are corrected promptly.
“Hosting a workshop on the opportunities in the train- 7 of the NLNG outside Bonny Kingdom is a disservice to the numerous members of the host community and Niger Delta region who will not be able to attend.
“There is this feeling of marginalisation of the host community in the scheme of things and hosting the workshop outside the host community is one of them.
“That is why I call on the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum to wade in and restore the confidence of the host community by prevailing on the stakeholders to accommodate host community and regional interests.
“Hosting such events in Bonny would have positive impact on the local economy of Bonny and indeed the Niger Delta region and this is part of the indices of peace and development.
“The Minister himself played pivotal roles in facilitating the fact finding tours where the Vice President pledged to drive the development of the region by attracting investors in the oil and gas sector,” West said.
Mr Charles Jumbo, Spokesman for Niger Delta Youths Coalition for Peace and Progress (NDYCPP) noted that it was worrisome rather than encourage the hosting of the NLNG train-7 in Bonny the event was taken elsewhere.
He said that the group was concerned that its efforts at building the capacity of Niger Delta youths doing business in the oil and gas sector to benefit from the project was being sabotaged.
“NDYCPP on our own, we are putting together a two day event to create awareness amongst young entrepreneurs in the oil and gas industry region on the opportunities in the multibillion dollars project.
“We have listed the Kahikwu as they keynote speaker in our own workshop to be held in Bonny so hearing that the management of NLNG is planning a similar programme for Abuja leaves us confused
“We expect activities related to the NLNG project to be held in the operational area to enable the economic benefits rub off on the host community and not taken away elsewhere.
“Having a symposium on the NLNG train-7 without Bonny people especially the traditional rulers is a drawback to the social responsibility of the company,” Jumbo said.
Also Prince Tonye Jeminimiema, National President, Niger Delta youths for Practical Development urged the management of the NLNG to have a rethink and consider integrating the host community in the train-7 project.
“We want them to factor in the interest of the host community and Niger Delta region in the project and the Minister of State for Petroleum should intervene and give directives to Nigerian Content Board and NLNG,” Jeminimiema said