By: Jimmy Lace, Warri

Engr. Ernest Nwapa

The Director, FENOG Nigeria Limited, Mr. Matthew Tonlagha has said that President Goodluck Jonathan is committed to the transformation of the oil producing communities of Niger Delta region through the Local Content Bill.

Speaking with our Correspondent, Mr. Tonlagha urged Nigerians to support the Local Content Bill, saying it was vital to the transformation of the long neglected oil communities in the Niger Delta region.

“We have a honest President, he wants to succeed in office hence he appointed capable hands like the Group Managing Director of the NNPC. Mr. Austin Oniwon, the Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison- Madueke and the Executive Secretary of the Local Content, Engr. Ernest Nwapa. These people understand the oil industry very well,” he said.

According to him, since the passage of the Local Content Bill, the GMD of NNPC, the Petroleum Minister and the Executive Secretary of the Local Content have shown great commitment to it adding that they have been telling the oil companies that Nigerians want the Local Content Law to work.

He said; “And based on that, the major contracts that they were giving to the multinational oil companies are now being directed towards the Local Content aspect which is a very good thing and because of that, Nigerians that are interested in investing in their companies and build up their capacities are pushing efforts to invest on equipment because they have high hope in the Local Content Bill and so that is a great achievement, then from the Minister to the GMD of NNPC and the Executive Secretary of Local Content; they are doing wonderful works to encourage Nigerians to invest in the oil and gas industry. But there is still need for them to put more efforts because there are some people out there who do not like the Local Content Bill as a result of their selfish interest.”

“When the Local Content bill was not there, few people benefited but with this Bill that the President passed many Nigerians will benefit from it, many of our people in the oil producing communities will rise up and become major players in the oil that is in their ancestral land. And we Nigerians need to support the GMD of NNPC, the Petroleum Minister and the Executive Secretary of Local Content because they cannot do it all alone because some people may just be out to frustrate their efforts. The President has taken the bull by the horn to ensure the success of the Local Content Bill,” he stated.

While saying that Nigerians are capable of taking over 90% of the oil industry, the FENOG Director said that; “For the past three years, we in FENOG alone have spent over Three Hundred and Fifty Million Dollars investing on equipment in order for us to meet up with the challenges in the oil and gas industry. I want to let Nigerians know that in the HDD technology, we are the biggest in the whole of Africa. We just completed the Escravos River crossing, a 1.7 kilometre, 45meter depth; it is the biggest in the whole world in HDD technology. FENOG designed every thing locally and so I should be proud of my country. Nigerians should support the Local Content Bill of the President and all of us will see great transformation in our oil communities in these four years of President Jonathan. All our HD operators are from the various communities where we are working. When the President is pushing on the Local Content, we who are the foot soldiers need to push it to the grassroot for them to reap the benefits of the Local Content Bill.”

“I want everybody to know that this Local Content Bill is very important to the oil producing communities. Our oil companies must be able to carry the locals along; give them light from your flow station, give them light from your tank farm and when these are done, the communities will protect your facilities,” he said.