Hon. Victor Afam Ogene, former House of Representatives member, for Ogbaru Federal Constituency, has faulted the exclusion of the main oil producing communities in Ogbaru, Anambra State, from the proposed Anambra State Oil and Gas Development Committee.
He went further to call the attention of Governor Anambra State, Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo, to the “unfair and unlawful exclusion”, which he said negates the objective of the Petroleum Industry Act.
He listed the main producing communities as Ogwuaniocha and Ogwuikpele, both in Ogbaru Local Government Area and pointed out that out of the 11 Oil wells that qualified Anambra as an Oil Producing state, eight are sited in both communities; yet nobody from the communities was found worthy of inclusion in the committee.
According to government announcement, Governor Soludo would on Tuesday, December 13, inaugurate the members of the Anambra State Oil and Gas Development Committe.
But Ogene, who is also the 2023 House of Representatives candidate of the Labour Party, in Ogbaru, in a statement on Monday said that:”While that’ll be considered a great news for our dear State, Anambra – that is gradually taking it’s place in the comity of oil producing states in Nigeria – the obvious exclusion of the main host communities, Ogwuaniocha and Ogwuikpele, both in Ogbaru Local Government Area, remains a disrespectful anomaly that runs contrary to the recently signed Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), that prioritises oil host community engagement and inclusion.
“The PIA describes host communities as communities ‘situated in or appurtenant to the area of operation of a settlor and any other community as a settlor may determine.”
He said that although “there are two Ogbaru sons in the Committee, the Commissioner for Information and one other, the non-inclusion of anyone from the twin communities of Ogwuaniocha and Ogwuikpele, is not only unjust but a development that might give oxygen to future bickering and rancour which Anambra doesn’t need at this period.
The Petroleum Industry Act, 2021 (PIA or “the Act”) was signed into law in August 2021. The PIA introduces significant changes to the legal and governance framework, administrative processes, regulatory and fiscal terms, and host community engagements in the oil and gas industry, in order to ensure transparency and enabling environment for oil producing operations.
Hon. Ogene therefore called on Governor Soludo to urgently look into the anomalous exclusion, with a view to ensure that both Ogwuaniocha and Ogwuikpele are properly represented in the Committee for the overall interest of the state and mutual goodwill.