By Akpos Oghenetega,
The Executive Council to pilot the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas, HOSTCOM, Executive body, Edo State Chapter for four years has been inaugurated with a charge to ensure smooth operation of oil companies in their vicinity.
Speaking at the occasion, the Commissioner for Mining, Oil and Gas, Hon. Ethan Uzamere said that HOSTCOM has always been a very important body of the State Government as it has evolved to be a frontline advisory body to the Government in the Oil and Gas Sector.
“Your invaluable contributions to the development of your various communities is noteworthy. Your role has also ensured peace as well as ensuring the smooth operation of oil companies in your vicinity.
Because development is a direct consequence of visionary leadership, the role of good leadership in the affairs of community mobilization and development cannot be overemphasized”.
Hence, I want to commend your body for ensuring a peaceful election into the HOSTCOM Executive body, Edo State Chapter. I want to congratulate everyone who has emerged from the process. I want to trust that you all will bring your very best to ensure that your community feel your impact. Your role is not to fan embers of chaos or crisis but to quickly nip it in the bud or to inform us in government to quickly address such issues. Edo State Ministry of Mining, Oil and Gas will always be ready to collaborate with you to establish even better ways of promoting societal cohesion.
Ho. Uzamere further said that the governor of the state, Mr. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki is making giant strides in ensuring that Edo State benefits the most from oil by ensuring effective utilization of resources made available through Edo State Oil and Gas Producing Areas Development Commission (EDSOPADEC) and also through Public-Private Partnerships (PPP). Through EDSOGPADEC, maintaining that government have had interventions such as the building of various public facilities including Modern Jetty, Marine Police Post in Ologbo; Customary Courts in Urhehue in Orhionmwon, healthcare facility at Obagie Nunuamen in Orhionmwon; purchase of armoured guns and speed boats for our waterways; New Police Area Command Office in Urhomehe, Orhionmwon; Ongoing Construction of Benin-Abraka Road, Rural Electrification of Abudu and other communities in Orhionmwon and the provision of transformers to some communities in Uhunmwonde to boost power supply.
“Through our Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), we have been able to establish the CCETC-OSSIOMO Power Gas plant which is a 55MW power plant; a 6600 Barrels per day modular refinery established by Edo Refinery and Petrochemical Limited and AIPCC Energy Limited.
Recently, we welcomed Duport Energy Park which is the first integrated energy park in Nigeria, with a 2,500 barrels refinery, CNG Gas processing plant, 10 megawatts power plant, and a data centre. We are not resting on our oars, we are poised to do even more and we count on the support of the Executives of HOSTCOM”.
Hon. Uzamere urged them to collaborate with government as his office will endeavour to hold regular sessions with them to garner feedback from communities noting that the Governor of the State has been very straightforward when it comes to the fact that he believes peace in Edo State is non-negotiable and timely feedbacks have been fundamental in ensuring that Edo continues to enjoy the peace.
“As we all know progress and development only exist in a place of peace. Hence we request that you join hands with us in government to keep the peace. I want to charge you all to ensure that your tenure brings about a greater level of peace in the oil-producing communities. As a grassroots-based body, you must endeavour to be alert as you’re likely to be the first to learn of whatever issues are happening in your Community.
In this regard, even one gunshot, reports of pipeline destruction or attacks on oil installations, or disturbing the activities of oil companies will be considered by Edo State Government as a breach of the peace. We must not underestimate the fact that such can escalate quickly. You must also heighten the level of pipeline and other oil installations surveillance. As a Government, we will provide you with the much-needed support to carry out your activities in the areas of partnerships with the established security agencies”.
While congratulating the new exco, he urged them not to downplay the role of traditional rulers in their Communities as they know the lay of the land, history and people and can also provide them with rich ideas and advice to ensure they carry out their activities efficiently and smoothly.
The National President of HOSTCOM, High Chief ( Dr. ) Benjamin Style stressed the need for HOSTCOM to collaborate with traditional rulers to effectively utilize the 3% operating costs granted to communities for sustainable development through the Petroleum Industry Act. PIA.
High Chief ( Dr.) Style said that as a pressure group, HOSTCOM will monitor how the funds are being expended noting that the communities are ready to work in a win-win situation with stakeholders in oil and gas without destroying facilities which will affect the environment and health of the people rather than to discuss as co-owners of the business.
In his inaugural speech, the Chairman, Comrade Nosa Andrew Oyegue thanked the communities for their role in the success of their first tenure in office and appealed for more support to enable them to succeed in their second tenure.
The high point was the swearing-in of the new exco members and the presentation of certificates.