By: Joe Aminah
As the Federal government battles daily with inundating cases of crude oil thefts and bunkering in the waterways, an indigenous oil and gas pipeline monitoring outfit under the aegis of the Federal Ethnic Council has prevailed on the Presidency to facilitate payment owed the distressed workers of the security body.
At a recent press briefing, the Operations Commander, Prince Emmanuel Oyibo stated that the Federal Ethnic Council has, in its recent reminding letters to the Presidency, sought to know the outcome of its petition to its office and the anti graft agency, the EFCC of its outstanding payment accruing to Ethnic Communities Security Operations with unfulfilled promise of payment since 2012.
Prince Oyibo pointed out that the Federal Ethnic Council was established in the nine oil and gas producing areas of Niger Delta with a mandate of securing pipelines and checking menace of oil thefts and bunkering in the waterways.
He pointed out that the Federal Ethnic Council is annexed by the federal government Gazette with stipulated roles and functions in Act 97, volume 96, dated 12th November, 2009.
Giving evidential account of arrears of indebtedness estimated at #24.9billion from 2012 to 2016, Prince Oyibo explained that the finance ministry made a promise of three installments payments of the said arrears while a budget of its capital expenditures and personal costs has equally been sent to the ministry.
Prince Emmanuel Oyibo said he had already informed representatives of ECSOD about three installment payment, but wondered why the continuous delay by the Accountant-General office for so long a time.
He cautioned that it will be counter productive to all parties involved if the Accountant-General and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs continue to play pranks with the destiny of the workers that have waited these long and are exhausting their patience.
Oyibo wants the Petroleum Industrial Act, PIA recently passed into law to be fully implemented with all sectors coming together to discuss and defend its section on the management and administration of its security department for implementation by the federal government.
Total cost of service, he said, that has been rendered by Federal Ethnic Council for payment is indeed huge, owing to negligence by corrupt elements in the ministry.
The situation is not a healthy development to either the workers, the oil operators neither the federal government. he lamented.
The Operations Commander also drew the attention of Journalists to several petitions to the Presidency, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, NNPC, EFCC, Federal and Ministry of Finance among others over the delayed payment.
The Ethnic Community Commander also call on the Presidency and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs to integrate Federal Ethnic Council with all parties in the petroleum industry in order to forestall friction.
He said he has continued to appeal to the representatives of ECSOD to remain calm and peaceful, while sticking to their duties in protecting all oil and gas facilities in host communities, even as their patience is running out.
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