Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide, IYC, has expressed dissatisfaction over the flagrant abuse of the Nigerian local content law by indigenous oil firm owners in the Niger Delta, regretting that rather than improve the fortunes of the region, it has rather impoverished the people.
In an open letter to President Muhammad Buhari by the president and spokesperson of IYC, Mr. Eric Omare, and Henry Iyalla, the youths noted that the local content law by the oil field owners and operators has “totally relegated the Niger Delta communities, entrepreneurs and contractors to the background.”
The youths pointed out that since the beginning of the implementation of the local content law in the last few years, the situation in the Niger Delta has moved from worse to worst, stressing that the poverty rate in the oil and gas communities has increased astronomically.
They said: “The Nigerian owners of the divested assets apart from acquiring the oil fields have incorporated multitude of companies with which they execute nearly all contracts in the value chain of their operations to the detriment of the local Niger Delta contractors.
“Apart from the fact that most of their jobs are awarded to companies in which they have interest, even where a few Niger Delta contractors are engaged, they deliberately refused to pay these contractors sometime for up to two years.
“Just as they give contracts that ought to be done by the local contractors to their relatives and subsidiary companies, they also give available employment opportunities that ought to be given to indigenes of the host communities to their own relatives to the detriment of the people of the host communities.”
While calling on the federal government to prevail on the indigenous oil field owners to ensure compliance with the local content law, pay contractors and employ graduates and youths from the region, the IYC also demands that “the federal government through the federal ministry of petroleum resources should investigate the activities of the indigenous oil field owners in respect to their contract awards, recruitment, and compliance with the local content requirement in relation to host communities.”