THE Edo State House of Assembly in collaboration with the State Ministry of Oil and Gas, organized the first Edo State Oil and Gas Summit on 17th – 18th May 2012, and came out with a communiqué which was duly signed by the convener and chairman of the House Committee on Oil and Gas, Hon. Friday Ogierhiakhi. It reads as follows
The first Edo State Oil and G as Summit was held from 17th to I 8th May, 2012 at Constantia Hotel, Airport Road, Benin-city and at the ADMIRAL MIKE AKHIGBE HALL, EDO STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY COMPLEX, BENIN CITY. The summit was well attended by stakeholders within and outside Edo state, as well as the general public.
The theme of the summit was “THE POTENTIAL AND VIABILITIES OF PETROLEUM RESOURCES IN EDO STATE.”
It focused on how to maximize the investment gains of Edo State government and of the people, especially the host Communities as it relates to the Local Content Act. It also addressed efficient service delivery and harmonious relationship with the host communities.
The Summit was declared open by the Edo State Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon (Dr). Pius Egberanmwen Odubu, who was represented by the Deputy Chief of staff, office of the Deputy Governor. It was chaired by the 1st Executive Governor of Edo State, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun. Also in attendance was the Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly. Rt. Hon. Uyigue Igbe, the Deputy Speaker, Chairman and members of EDHA Standing Committee on Oil and Gas, and participants from the Host Communities and Oil and Gas Sector.
PRESENTATIONS AND DELIBRATIONS.
In all, four papers were delivered by the resource persons. Some key areas of interest in the Oil and Gas sector were highlighted. Sessions were chaired by eminent personalities. Papers were extensively discussed in an interactive manner. They include;
• Effective Utilization of Natural Gas As a Source of Energy in Nigeria, The Place of Edo State in The Gas Master Plan — Engr Saidi Mohammed, Managing Director, Nigeria Gas Company Ltd, Warri
• Edo State, a Land Locked or Littoral State in the Niger Delta — Surveyor General Edo State, Surveyor 0. Ofiare.
• Standard Methodology Of Managing Conflicting Interest In The Environmental Pollution Claims against Oil and Gas Companies in Nigeria — Barr. Anthony Ewere and Kingsley Opia Enwemuche (Esq.)
Participants extensively discussed the papers and shared experiences from their different operational and community backgrounds.
Arising from the foregoing, participants observed that;
• There is-a need .for Edo State-.to partner with. NNPC in order to realize the full potential of its oil and gas resources.
• In light of the issues arising from the unresolved boundary disputes between Edo State and her neighboring States concerning oil wells, it is recommended that there should be a proper adjustment of the Edo state boundaries.
• It was also agreed that both state and federal intervention agencies should as a matter of fact put the host communities on their priority list in terms of allocation and distribution of resources/projects.
• There should be proper implementation of: NOSDRA ACT 2005, Environmental guideline and standard for the petroleum industry in Nigeria (EGASPIN), National environmental policy (i.e. Pollution abasement in industries and facilities generating waste) regulations.
• Government while pandering to restive host community youths however has ignored the peace-loving youths in the host communities. It is therefore recommended that the peaceful youths in the host communities be encouraged by providing them with jobs and opportunities.
• Whenever there is conflict, the oil and gas companies and their host communities must be ready at all times to embrace the principle of compromise in the resolution of disputes arising from environmental pollution claims.
• Oil money has exacerbated the struggle for political power, engendering violence and corruption both in the electoral process and the general society; it is recommended that there should be an equitable distribution of the nation’s resources combined with good governance.
• Edo State should utilize her position as a major oil and gas 1oction to establish petrochemical plant and allied industries to provide employment for the citizens.
• Participants and Oil & Gas operators agreed that there is need to hold regular summits on the Oil and Gas issues as a means to promote Edo State potentials.
• That Oil Companies operating in Edo State, should have functional Offices in the State.