By Jimmy Lace, Warri

THE Niger Delta Indigenous Movement for Radical Change (NDIMRC) has tasked the Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke on contracts opportunities for indigenous investors in the Oil and Gas Companies in the region, saying there was growing tension in the region over preference being given to multinationals at the expense of the local companies.

Petroleum Minister, Mrs Deziani Allison Madueke

Petroleum Minister, Mrs Deziani Allison Madueke

The group alleged that contracts worth over Fifty Billion Dollars ($50 Billion) have been splashed on the multinational oil companies since the Local Content Act was signed into Law by President Goodluck Jonathan, while local investors that have built up capacity are being denied of juicy contracts that would reduce mounting tension in the region.

The Nigeria Oil & Gas Industry Content Development Act (Local Content Act) was assent to by President Goodluck Jonathan on 22 April 2010.

Speaking to newsmen in Yenogoa, the Bayelsa State capital during the swearing-in ceremony of the newly elected Governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson, the President of the group, Nelly Emma urged the Petroleum Minister to focus attention on indigenous Oil and Gas companies in the Niger Delta region so as to reduce the growing tension, poverty and violent crimes.

“The Minister should tell the whole world her plans for indigenous investors. Our people have confidence in the Nigerian Local Content hence they invested heavily in capacity building and now they are not being encouraged. It is so sad that contracts worth over Fifty Billion Dollars ($50 Billion) have been awarded to foreign investors since President Jonathan signed the Local Content Act and nobody is looking the way of our local investors and this is causing tension in the region. We are tasking the Petroleum Minister on the future of our local investors in the Oil and Gas sector,” he stated.

He also said; “The Petroleum Minister should not deceive our people; she should perform now by creating contract opportunities for our local investors. We want her to take drastic action because we are not happy that the Forcados-Yokri Integrated Project was awarded to O.P.I. that do not have an office in Nigeria at the expense of our local investors; O.P.I., according to our findings, got the Forcados-Yokri Integrated Project job as a result of the single sourcing approved by the Petroleum Minister and we don’t want to believe that we are being manipulated by those who are against the removal of fuel subsidy by President Jonathan.”

“Let the Petroleum Minister approve contracts to local investors because our people are tired of begging for jobs and this situation is making the people to feel that the Local Content Act is not favourable to them. We in our group have all the details of contracts awarded so far to multinational oil companies at the detriment of our local investors; this situation should not be encouraged;” he stated.

The NDIMRC boss noted that the on-going assessment of the progress of the Nigerian Content (NC) tour of the Petroleum Minister ought to have started in the region so as to restore the confidence of indigenous investors.

According to him; “We are not happy with the poverty level in the oil rich Niger Delta region. Our people in the Oil and Gas sector should be encouraged by the Petroleum Minister, those she has visited so far in the assessment tour are the same people who are benefiting from oil subsidy and people from the Niger Delta region are being denied of employment by these same people.”

He said; “We have been monitoring the assessment tour of the Petroleum Minister, especially her visit to the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics (LADOL) and the Nigerdock Facilities in Snake Island, Lagos on Monday, February 13, 2012 and to let her know that our people that have invested heavily on capacity building are anxiously waiting in the Niger Delta for such visit. The Petroleum Minister should create contract opportunities for indigenous Oil and Gas Companies in the region.

In his words also; “The Petroleum Minister should come out with the timetable of her movement to Port-Harcourt, Calabar, Yenogoa and Warri and give our people jobs instead of O.P.I.”

He implored the Petroleum Minister to make the people of the region to feel the impact of her tour in Port-Harcourt, Calabar, Yenogoa and Warri.