Stakeholders Alliance for Corporate Accountability, SACA, an organization based in Yenagoa has called on multi-national oil companies operating in the Niger Delta to adopt best global practices in their operations.
A representative of the organization and a Missionary attaché to the Irish Embassy in Nigeria, Father Kevin O’Hara, made the call when he visited the Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Retired Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah, in the company of the Irish Ambassador, Sean Hoy, in Government House, Yenagoa.
Father O’Hara said, SACA, which was established in 2006 had been monitoring the compliance of oil companies, particularly, Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC in meeting international standards in their activities.
He stressed the need for Bayelsans to benefit maximally from their God-given resources, especially as the state plays host to the Gbarain/Ubie Gas Gathering Plant, describing the project as SPDC’s biggest multi-billion dollar investment in Africa.
According to Father O’Hara, in no distant time, SPDC will sign a Global Memorandum of Understanding with Gbarain/Ekpetiama cluster communities and expressed the hope that the people will not be shortchanged.
He said a coalition known as Economic Council For Corporate Accountability, ECCA, based in the United Kingdom, has been prevailing on oil companies to improve on their relations with host communities in the Niger Delta.
Father O’Hara explained that, since 1996, efforts by the Council to get the SPDC Board of Directors to adopt the same international standards in Nigeria as in the United Kingdom, proved abortive.
Responding, the Deputy Governor, Retired Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah, identified failure of oil companies to honour MoUs, issues of oil spillage and compensation as major sources of conflicts between host communities and oil firms.
Rear Admiral John Jonah, also decried the non-participation of the Niger Delta people in the oil and gas industry and lauded SACA for its efforts towards giving the people a sense of belonging.
Describing the devastation to the environment caused by the activities of oil companies as unquantifiable, Rear Admiral John Jonah said a study is being undertaken by experts on the extent of damage to the environment and the people.
He solicited the collaboration of the international community in the areas of education, power generation, agriculture, development of the Agge deep sea port and other infrastructure to build a sustainable economy beyond oil.