Petroleum Resources ministry keeps mute
Resolve P&ID controversy urgently, HOSCON tells FG
Says issue would impact on oil output, host communities
By Udeme Akpan, Michael Eboh & Princess Owoh
The Federal Government, yesterday, urged Nigerians to ignore the ostentatious claims by the Process and Industrial Developments, P&ID, Ltd, on compilation of Nigeria’s assets for attachment over a $9.6 billion judgment debt.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the call when he paid a working visit to the headquarters of the Leadership newspaper, in Abuja.
Briefing the management and editorial board of the medium on the purported gas contract that led to the judgment debt, the minister reassured that government would take legal and diplomatic actions to ensure no asset of the country was annexed over the case.
He said: “You will see that there is a lot of grandstanding on the part of the P&ID, especially by the Public Relations consultant it hired.
“As a matter of fact, they are already threatening that they are compiling the list of assets of Nigeria to attach.
“The truth of the matter is that, even in the judgment, the court said it cannot start any attachment until the court resumes from vacation.
“We are doing everything possible and we are very optimistic that we will escape any embarrassment of attachment of the country’s asset as a result of this dubious award.
“The Federal Government has taken all necessary steps to ensure that no property of the country is attached by any court.
“Government will leave no stone unturned, legally and diplomatically, to ensure that our asset will not be affected as a result of the judgment.”
The minister reiterated that the contract was a scam from inception with both local and international collaborators who aimed at depleting the nation’s foreign reserves.
Ministry of Petroleum Resources keeps mum
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, a major party in the controversial gas pipeline project between the Federal Government and P&ID, yesterday, declined to explain its role.
Director of Press of the ministry, Mr. Olujimi Oyetomi, did not respond to Vanguard’s email at press time.
The email had sought to know many vital information, including the role the ministry played in the project, alleged negligence and the next steps to be taken.
Resolve P&ID controversy urgently, HOSCON tells FG
However, oil producing communities in the Niger Delta, under the aegis of Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas, HOSCON, yesterday, called on the Federal Government to urgently look for ways to immediately resolve the $9.6 billion judgment claim instituted by P&ID against Nigeria.
Speaking in an interview with Vanguard in Abuja, National President of HOSCON, Mr. Mike Emuh, stated that it was crucial to resolve the issue to prevent the loss of confidence in the Nigerian petroleum industry.
He said Nigeria’s crude oil output had been recording significant rise over the last couple of months and that oil-producing communities would not want anything to jeopardise the stability in Nigeria’s production.
He further stated that the rise in Nigeria’s crude oil output was a result of the confidence of investors in the industry and the peaceful disposition of oil producing communities.
According to him, if the issue with P&ID is not adequately resolved, it may erode investors’ confidence, negatively affect Nigeria’s crude oil and gas output and also impact the host communities negatively.
He said: “The Federal Government should not resort to media propaganda on this issue and if there is any allegation or accusation against the Federal Government due to the issue, it should be able to address it immediately to create more credibility for the Nigerian petroleum industry, retain investors’ interest and create positive international recognition.
“At present, HOSCON is aware and appreciate the increase in Nigeria’s crude oil output, from below two million barrels per day to over 2.5 million barrels per day. This is because there is peace in the oil-producing region of the country, but this controversy might disrupt peace in the region and hamper Nigeria’s crude oil and gas output if it is not properly managed.”
Emuh further called on the Federal Government to also abide by the agreement it reached with the oil-producing communities through the four-point agenda presented by HOSCON.
He listed the agreement to include the release of the N98 billion gas flare penalty money; award of pipeline surveillance contracts to host communities, which was capable of engaging over 10,000 youths in the region trained for that purpose; release of 13 percent derivation to host communities and the award of licenses for the planned construction of 10 modular refineries in host communities in the Niger Delta.
“The delay in the implementation of this four-point agenda does not speak well of the Niger Delta because we are still creating an enabling environment for both the international and indigenous oil companies.
‘’Again, as a result of the good work of the host community, led by myself, Prince Dr. Mike Emuh, illegal refineries have reduced to less than 20 percent, Oil theft has been reduced to less than 20 per cent. And today, the South-South geopolitical zone is the most peaceful zone in terms of security, and in terms of peace because of the good work of the host communities.
“Therefore, we are asking the Federal Government to activate actions for the release of the approved four-point agenda in favour of the host communities.”