PORT HARCOURT: PIPELINE professionals’ association of Nigeria has urged the federal government to set up an agency that would always interface with oilÂ bearing communities.
In a statement issued at the end of its annual general meeting in Port Harcourt, the body of professionals said the agency would go a long way to reduce tension and crisis in the Niger delta and the country at large.
The statement signed by the trio of Dr Joseph DorguÂ Chairman, Stewart Logan, executive secretary and Mr. Olusola Aloba, Publicity secretaryÂ Â reads in part, â€œa call is hereby made for the setup of an Interface Agency for Host/Impact and Access Communities with the following responsibilities:
Interface on behalf of Government and Host Community where impact is perceived to have occurred. Have Crisis and issues resolution capabilities regarding EIA, project development and community needs. Provide the resource necessary to guarantee zero- disruption to Operational and Project related activities.â€
Noting the need for the nation to shift from total dependence on oil by diversifying its economy the body also called for integrity on the part of all stakeholders in the operation of the pipeline system as this would further help to deepen the gains from it.
On the proposed 10 % community equity participation in the oil and gas sector of the economy the statement called for proper definition of host, impact and access communities, saying this would help avert any probably tension that could arise from implementation.
It also called for functional refineries and cushioning measures in place before government should goes ahead with the planned deregulation
Adding that the â€œ proposed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) should take into cognizance the concerns of the IOCs and their vision in streamlining the Technical, Economic and Social requirements, via their Sustainable Development Programmes, for a win-win situation.
The group also called for strong political institutions that would promote sound democratic values, noting that they are relevant to the stability of the nation.