The House of Representatives has resolved to constitute an ad hoc committee to investigate the award of pipeline surveillance contracts by the Agip Oil Company in the Niger Delta to ascertain the contractors, and the impact on oil producing communities.
The committee is to further determine the effects of the contracts on net national revenue derivable from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)/Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NOAC) joint venture operations and report back to the House in 3 weeks for further legislative action.
The resolution followed a motion of urgent public importance yesterday by Frederick Agbedi (PDP, Bayelsa) and others on “the Need to Investigate the Award and Payment of Pipeline Surveillance Contractors by Agip.”
Leading debate on the motion, Agbedi noted that other companies had given out similar security contracts to natives of host communities, to involve them in pipeline maintenance, wondering why Agip’s case was different.
He said, “As a result of pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta region and upon the subsequent implementation of the Presidential Amnesty Program, it was agreed that pipeline surveillance contracts be awarded to the host communities to foster development of the communities and empower the people.”
Agbedi said despite the fact that Bayelsa communities are hosts to the Nigerian Agip Oil Company’s personnel, pipelines and oil installations, the company decided to award the pipeline surveillance contracts to favoured allies.
This, he said, has resulted in conflicts in the affected communities, saying Agip’s action was capable of driving the indigenous youths to becoming restive and disruptive to the peace of oil producing areas.
He said the youths feel marginalized and had, on several occasions, expressed their grievances through violent protests with security operatives attached to the contractors resulting in loss of lives and property.
After deliberations, the motion was passed and adopted.