NCDMB breaks silence, warns against protest by HOSTCOM

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The management of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has finally given clarifications on the protest embarked upon by youths and members of the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM) at its headquarters in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.

NCDMB also warned against what they described as HOSTCOM’s misconceived and unwarranted action which has caused the state a lot in the past weeks, noting that It is shocking and absolutely galling that the group seems to be completely oblivious of the consequences of their unlawful action of obstructing and preventing oil and gas transactions with the board for two weeks running, knowing the criticality of oil and gas operations to Nigeria’s economic survival.

Recall that it had earlier reported that hundreds of protesters besieged and shut down activities at the headquarters of NCDMB.

The aggrieved youths and members of HOSTCOM were later said to have been considered and given some slots but they rejected the offer of training just 100 youths from the earlier agreed and approved 1000 youths from over 850 communities in the eight local government areas of the state.

In a statement, issued and sent to the General Manager Corporate Communications/Zonal Coordination, NCDMB, Engr. Ginah O. Ginah, the board highlighted its core functions as it relates to the host communities and other parts of the country.

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The statement reads “We, the Management of NCDMB, have watched with dismay the needless disruptive protests by members of Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM) and their allies since last week, despite all entreaties by the State Governor, His Excellency, Senator Douye Diri as well as other well-meaning citizens and groups in Bayelsa State for them to end the violent protests and explore the option of dialogue.

“In view of the flagrant refusal to vacate the siege on our office and quit violence, we are constrained to issue this release to debunk the deliberate falsehood and distorted narrative put out by the group to justify their unwarranted disruption of our operation and to tarnish the image of the Board.

“We had expected that reason would prevail and that the group would appreciate the incalculable harm their misconceived and unwarranted action is causing the state as a whole, but it is unfortunate that little or no consideration is given to this fact.

“It is shocking and absolutely galling that this group seems to be completely oblivious of the consequences of their unlawful action of obstructing and preventing oil and gas transactions with the Board for two weeks running, knowing the criticality of oil and gas operations to Nigeria’s economic survival.

“We wish to set the records straight and correct the blatant falsehood being peddled by HOSTCOM and their sponsors, which is calculated to mislead the public and attract cheap sympathy. It behooves us to categorically state as follows:

“That the mandate of the NCDMB as stipulated in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act is strictly, To develop local Capacities and Capabilities and To Monitor compliance and enforce provisions of the NOGICD Act.

“That for the sake of emphasis, NCDMB is not an interventionist agency for the Niger Delta region, much less for Bayelsa state. Indeed, the NOGICD Act and the work of NCDMB is to cater to the entire country, not narrow sectional interest.

“That NCDMB is not obligated to grant or accede to every request or demand from members of the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas in Bayelsa State or any group for that matter.

“That since its inception, NCDMB Board has taken a special interest in the development of Bayelsa State and its indigenes to such a point that other states in the region have continued to accuse the Board of bias, favoring Bayelsa State more than all the other oil-producing states.

“That in line with the Board’s determination to spur rapid development of the State and indigenes, the Board has sited several strategic projects in different parts of Bayelsa State, and actively worked to maintain a healthy relationship with the communities hosting our projects. There’s hardly any incidence of downtime or disruption of our operations by our host communities.

“That in our relationship with communities hosting our projects, they do not dictate to the Board nor make onerous demands.

“That it is ridiculous and unimaginable that any group could dictate to the Board, what to do, when to do it and how to do it as HOSTCOM and their allies are trying to do on this occasion, even arm twisting the Board to give into their demands.

“Specifically, that no group can and should think that it could come up with any ridiculous demand and compel the Board to yield to their pressure, just as HOSTCOM is doing even with all kinds of blackmail and outright falsehood.

“That the sticking point in the ongoing disturbance is that HOSTCOM requested the Board to train 1000 persons and submitted the names to the Board, expecting the Board to accept their list without question.

“That Board turned down the bogus list as there is no budget to accommodate such an unreasonable demand. Contrary to HOSTCOM’s false assertion, the Board did not at any time agree to train 1000 persons submitted by HOSTCOM.

“That HOSTCOM now wants to compel the Board to train the 1000 persons they submitted to the Board without regard to the Board’s training plan and budget, particularly because the leaders of HOSTCOM had allegedly extorted various sums of money from each of the nominees.

“Realizing that the nominees they have extorted money from would vent their anger on them, the HOSTCOM leaders became restive and took to the street in a desperate move to arm-twist the Board to give into their inordinate demand and to cover their actions.

“The leaders of HOSTCOM have threatened the lives of some NCDMB personnel and their families over this impasse and the threats have been duly reported to the relevant security agencies for a thorough investigation.”

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