By Emmanuel Elebeke
UYO—The Oil and Solid Mineral Producing Areas Landlords Association, OMPALAN, has frowned at the news of revisiting the onshore/offshore dichotomy by the Federal Government, saying that the issue should not be revisited.
This is even as the association has called on all oil, gas and solid mineral producing communities in Akwa Ibom State to vote only compliant candidates in the coming 2019 general elections.
OMPALAN made the position known at its general meeting held at NKana in Etinan LGA of Akwa Ibom State.
The meeting was attended by HRH Eze Dr. Fatai Emetumah (Chairman, Advisory Board, Imo State); HRM Eze Ginikanwa, Nzeobi of Egbema (Chairman, Advisory Board, Rivers State); Chief Dr. Jackson Udoh (Member, BoT & National Coordinator Govt./Community Development); Obong Paul Ekpo, Akwa Ibom PDP State Chairman) and Bishop Udo Azogu (Chairman, BoT/National Leader, OMPALAN).
Others are: Rt. Hon Barr Onofiok Luke (Hon Speaker Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly); Hon Justice Paul Obidigwe, Rtd (Member, BoT & National Legal Adviser); HRM Ahta Isemin; Hon Justice Andrew E. Okon, Rtd (Special Adviser Peace & Conflict Resolution).
The association while appraising the import of the recent report of revising the onshore/offshore dichotomy by the Federal Government said the action was unnecessary and should not be contemplated by the government in the interest of peace.
Corroborating the unanimous position of OMPALAN, the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly Speaker, Rt. Hon Barr Onofiok Luke, hailed OMPALAN on the position and described it as a great organization determined to better the lots of its members and the country in general.
Earlier in his address, Bishop Azogu explained that the meeting was informed by the need to strengthen OMPALAN in order to play a pivotal role in harnessing the resources of impacted communities to stimulate growth and foster healthy competition.
He said there was need for members to in order to establish popular ownership of the vision of the organization at the grassroots, saying that the association will continue to galvanize support of government and other development agencies across oil and solid mineral producing areas to deliver the goods and give member States a dignified existence.
‘‘The association is pleased with the peaceful conduct of the good people of Akwa Ibom State in addressing environmental concerns plaguing the State. On our part, OMPALAN will continue to provide the necessary support to facilitate state access to democratic deliverables deriving from the state’s huge endowment in hydrocarbon and other exploitable solid mineral resources.
‘‘It is the desire of OMPALAN as the lawful voice of oil, gas and solid mineral producing communities in Nigeria that all the oil and gas producing companies operating within the shores of Akwa Ibom State deliver on their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to impacted communities and help the State surmount devastating environmental challenges. We also plead with the State and Local governments, security agencies and the good people of Akwa Ibom State to give the association the critical cooperation it needs to deliver the goods.
‘‘OMPALAN places high premium on protection of the environment of impacted communities whether it is oil, gas or solid mineral exploitation.’’
On the 2019 general elections, the BoT Chairman appealed to members across the Country to obtain their voters card and vote only OMPALAN- compliant candidates who will help protect their environment.
He said OMPALAN was not constituted as an alternative or opposition to constituted authority but, as a viable complement.‘‘It is pertinent to express the association’s resolve to support the effort of Government and other constituted authority at all levels in strengthening corporate governance and the rule of law in Nigeria,’’ he said.