The Deputy Governor of Delta State, Kingsley Otuaro, has said no amount of force or deployment of Nigerian military would best secure oil and gas installations in the Niger Delta region other than the direct involvement of host communities where such facilities are located.
Otuaro, who doubled as the Chairman of the Advocacy Committee Against Vandalism of Oil and Gas Facilities, stated this in a communiqué issued at the end of a two-day conference on securing oil and gas installations in the state.
He stated that it would be more enduring when communities where such facilities are located were directly consulted to secure them rather than leaving them to security operatives who may not be conversant with the terrain.
He said, “The conference is of the firm belief that no amount of force and deployment of Nigeria’s instruments of coercion can, for example, fully secure oil and gas facilities as much as host communities would do. In this connection, therefore, the conference is of the belief that oil companies should involve host communities in securing the pipelines and other installations in their territories.
“Emphasis is on working together to overcome a problem. Government should also ensure that oil companies comply with the best practices, both in their relationship with communities and in the technical standards of their operations.
“The conference is of the firm view that oil and gas facilities will be better secured when communities are treated as partners in the oil industry, so that they can see their individuals and collective destinies as being tied to the overall success of oil industry, which they must protect vigorously.”
The committee also called for the abrogation of all obnoxious oil and gas laws which confer total monopoly of ownership of oil and gas on the Federal Government to the exclusion of host communities where the oil is being extracted.
Otuaro, in the communiqué, observed that the laws, had over the years, created strain between oil companies and their hosts, stressing that such laws completely alienated host communities from being part owners of the commodities discovered in their land.
It particularly frowned on oil and gas laws, including Oil Pipeline Act of 1959, Oil Terminal Dues Act of 1965, Petroleum Act of 1963, Land Use Act 1978, Associated Gas Reinjection Act 1979 and the Land (Title Vesting) Act of 1993, among others.