Prof. Akin Akindoyeni, Chairman of Council, Institute of Oil and Gas and Hydrocarbon Studies, has called for the review of the conditions for oil and gas exploitation in Nigeria.
Akindoyeni made the call at the 2018 Oil and Gas public lecture series organised by the institute in Abuja, at the weekend.
Delivering a paper on the theme: “The theme of the seminar was, “Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry Governance Law and Global Investment Opening In the Sector” he said, “There is an urgent need to revisit the conditions of our Oil and Gas exploitation in Nigeria.
“The first step should be a mutual agreement that the present conditions of exploitation contract between Nigeria and the Oil companies should be abrogated,” Akindoyeni stated.
“A replacement set of conditions which must right all the existing wrongs must be established, giving equity rights to the traditional land and site owners, the local governments and the States without neglecting the Federal government,” he said.
More so, he said that research funds should be made available to the Institute, to gather realistic data for optimal developmental solutions in the sector.
Akindoyeni recalled that the recently concluded Oil and Gas Governance Act make provision for what was referred to as decentralisation and commercialisation of the operations of the Nigerian national petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
“However, the much needed private ownership of these companies was conspicuously absent from the Act.
“It is still government business as usual. But we all know that government business is nobody’s business. Government business should be limited to regulatory actions, not in business, manufacturing, trading or any of those economic activities for which the private sector is known to excel,” he insisted.
He expressed dismay that “the nation is seen as a resource smorgasbord for the hyena within and the sharks without to come and pick, nay gather, more than their needs to the disadvantage of the native Nigerian.
“There is no sector of the Nigerian economic landscape in which this happens more than in the Oil and Gas as well as the Hydrocarbon sectors.
“As far back as the beginning of the 2nd Republic, every economic buccaneer on this planet descended on this country, searched for and connected with a Nigerian wishing to harvest where he had not sown.
“They successfully made millions of dollars and naira within a short period of time and export the money to enrich the economy of other more developed countries,” Akindoyeni pointed out.
Akindoyeni submitted that the initial relationship between the exploiters of our crude oil deposits and this nation did not go beyond the extraction of the crude mineral, taking it away and paying royalties to our government.
“What happens to the environment and the people who dwell in that place was never considered important, either by the exploiters or the Nigerian representatives negotiating the relationship.
“The result is with us now, in our defecated farming and fishing environment. The communities that have been deprived of their means of livelihood are left with no alternative modes of living.
“Quite a noticeable number of their youth have been forced into the antisocial occupation, with no real or foreseeable solution to the problem.
“The traditional leaders in the communities have been deceived, and they apparently believe the lies, that all that they needed was more coral beads for their necklaces and a community centre for their towns,” he added.