Amidst dignitaries from various walks of life at the Oil and Solid Mineral conference held recently at Wellington hotel, Effurun, Delta state, the state chapter and executive committee of the Oil and Solid Minerals Producing Area Landlords’ Association of Nigeria, OMPALAN, has been inaugurated by the national body of the association led by Bishop Udo Azogu, who charged the committee to uphold the tenets, vision and mission of the association, standing as the bridge between government as well as stakeholders in the Oil and Solid Mineral industry and the host as well as impacted communities in the state.
Those inaugurated were; Chairman Advisory Board of the association, HRM, Godwin Opune Adeyere, Obi Ejeme-Unor, (Delta North) as State Coordinator, Chief Emmanuel Avworo, (Delta Central), Member (Delta) Board of Trustees (BoT) of the association, Moore Ologitere, a justice of the peace, (Delta Central) State Chairman, Chief Felix Olofu (Delta North), State Vice Chairman, Dr Moses Adagbabiri (Delta South), State Secretary, Mr. Kenneth Ekwejuno-Echie (Delta South), State Administrative Secretary, Mr. Moses Otaide (Delta Central), State Financial Secretary, Dr. Mrs. Egbule Elizabeth (Delta North) State Coordinator Youth Affairs, Prince Godwin Oghre (Delta Central), State Publicity Secretary.
The state executive committee also include, Dr. Mrs. Otega Okinono, State Coordinator Women Affairs, Pat Willie, Esq., State Legal Adviser, Chief Harrison Jessa, State Environmental Secretary, Chief Doris Okegbe, a justice of the peace, State Coordinator Projects, Chief Odumeya Osawota, State Coordinator Education Infrastructure, Hon. Mrs. Rechael Ogherakpoteni, Ex-Officio Member, Chief Ann Omonesiso, LGA Secretary, Chief Luke Djeba, LGA Coordinator and Mrs. Caro Odogu, as State Coordinator Solid Mineral Development.
Bishop Azogu who also congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari on his recent victory at the just concluded presidential election, has urged him ‘’to intervene pro-actively with a view to giving the desired impetus to local governments to enable them fill the gap in governance and enjoy the flexibility of delivering the goods to the locals unshackled, free from the stiffening strangulation by the state governments,’’ adding that the current stiffening condition of the local government has also stiffened the base of democratic participation and leadership at the grassroots, making a mockery of the nation’s hard-earned democracy.
Accordingly, OMPALAN, he said, ‘’welcomes the recent decision by Mr. President to revoke the licenses of oil blocs conceded by previous administrations to individuals and organisations,’’ noting that such concessions were counter-productive as they have not added value to the lives of the locals who he said, ‘’bear the brunt of acute environment degradation through oil and solid mineral exploration and exploitation.’’
He called on the federal government to look into what he termed, ‘’persistent misappropriation and rampant diversion of deliverables that accrue from robust federal government mitigation schemes running into trillions of Naira annually from NDDC, 13 percent oil derivation fund commission, ecological fund and ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and ensure that the palliatives released from the top get to the ground intact for unshackled access by the impacted communities, and also to ensure that oil, solid mineral and other development agencies exploiting mineral resources in Nigeria companies comply strictly with corporate social responsibility to host communities,’’ a solution he said, OMPALAN has, tasking the government to work with it.
Other speakers at the conference who corroborated Bishop Azudo position, include, the Chairman Advisory Council and Delta State coordinator of OMPALAN, HRM, Godwin Nzemeke Opune Adeyere, Delta State Chairman of OMPAN, Moore Ologitere, his deputy, Chief Olofu Felix and the Guest Lecturer, a Delta State University, Abraka don, Dr Hilary Owamah, all of who enjoined government to adopt measures that will ensure that the plights of host and impacted communities in the country are ameliorated through feasible and lasting palliatives.
In his lecture titled: ‘’The Place of Landlords in the Oil and Solid Mineral Development in Nigeria,’’ Dr. Owamah particularly tasked the oil and solid mineral exploration companies in Nigeria to also, aside their federal government licenses, ‘’obtain and strictly comply with their ‘Social Licenses,’ which is the consent and social approval which the communities grant to such companies, adumbrated in their Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) with the companies, and dispense on their social and corporate responsibilities to the communities, with a view to bringing succor to the locals.’’