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Dangote Refinery and Host Community Bill’s Challenges

Nigeria’s oil space dotted by bickering between oil firms and their host communities is worsened by dearth of host community bill. examines how the World’s biggest single-unit Dangote Refinery copes with this impediment:

The mistake started from 1958 when oil began to flow from Oloibiri wellhead in the present Bayelsa State. And over time, what the host communities perceived as the dearth of proper care for them in the entire oil production cycle transformed into a monster that hurted the country’s oil output. The high hope for a bill to address this age-long no love lust between oil companies and their host communities is, however, dashed by the eight National Assembly and this has keep issues of troubled relationship between these two major stakeholders on the front burner.

The host community bill is one of the four bills from the Petroluem Industry Bill (PIB). This impediment to the smooth sail of all companies in Nigeria’s energy space is as usual waiting on the way of the 650,000 barrels per day capacity Refinery being constructed by Dangote Group. And even while one barrel of crude is yet to be refined on the installation, the company had kept investing in human capital development for youths in its host communities.

But the question on the lips of many is what could have led the company into this even when everyone knows it had not began operations. It is the World’s biggest single unit refinery expected to save Nigeria of the embarrassment the public refineries caused it and a further wait for the NASS to pass host community bill before action could affect relationship with its host.

Public refinery, not a good lead

One of the reasons, public refineries have become a mess is the way relationship with host communities is managed. The Ogoni community, for instance, had frosty relationship with the Port Harcourt Refinery especially over delay by the company to remitt its $23 billion share into the London Standard Chartered Bank for the first phase of the Ogoni clean up exercise.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) last Thursday announced, however, the commencement of rehabilitation for the 210,000 barrels per day capacity Port Harcourt Refinery, 19 years after the last Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) exercise of the nation’s premier refining plant. Noting that the rehabilitation was to bolster Nigeria’s effort at ensuring local sufficiency in refined petroleum products, the Corporation stated that the first phase of the rehabilitation has commenced for the refinery complex that comprises the 60,000 barrels per day old refinery built in 1965 and the 150,000 barrels per day, new refinery, commissioned in 1989.

The exercise, flagged–off by an elated Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, according to a statement, came 19 years after the last Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) exercise of the nation’s premier refining plant

Before a barrel is refined

Even before the completion of its facility, Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemicals Company last Wednesday flagged off a vocational training scheme for 200 youths from the Ibeju-Lekki area of its operations, surging Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) investments for its host communities.

The move, which was greeted by eulogies from traditional rulers headed by the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu and Oloja of Epe, Oba Kamoru Animasaun, was according to the company’s Group Executive Director, Capital Projects, Mr. Devakumar Edwin, part of efforts aimed at making young men and women from its host communities employable by inculcating necessary skills in them.

The initiative, Edwin said in a welcome address at the launch of the scheme in Lagos, was a demonstration of Dangote Refinery’s commitment towards capacity building and youth empowerment in the country.

A nod from government

The Manager, Projects Certification and Authorisation Division (PCAD), NCDMB, Frank Ibi, who represented the Executive Secretary, Simbi Wabote, an engineer, commended Dangote Refinery on its achievement. He underlined that Nigerian Content is geared to promote domiciliation of valueadding activities and utilization of Nigerian human and material resources. He said the board’s mandate is to ensure that training resources and efforts are devoted to providing young Nigerians with specialised skills and certifications needed to get employment. Engr. Ibi lauded Dangote’s commitment to NDCMB Human Capacity Development Initiatives, which he believed would provide a platform for the youths to contribute to Nigeria’s economic development.

Dawn of smooth ties

In his remarks, Oba Akiolu said that the programme was unprecedented in that the company was yet to start operation yet decided to empower the youths from the area to make them employable. The monarch encouraged the youths to utilize the skills, which they will acquire through the training programme.

The monarch, who commended Dangote Refinery for its unwavering support to community development initiatives in Lagos State, emphasized the need for the youths to work hard and be close to God. Also, the Oloja of Epe Land, Oba Kamorudeen Ishola Animashaun, commended Aliko Dangote for bringing development to the communities through his investment in refinery and petrochemicals and urged other Nigerians of means to invest locally and lift the economy of the people at the grassroot.

The Chairman, Lekki Local Council Development Area, Ogidan Olaitan, who was the chief host, said the inauguration of the skills acquisition programme was a fulfilment of Dangote’s promise to the host communities and a step in the right direction. According to him, the company promised the award of scholarship to students in the host communities. He noted that this was fulfilled through the award of scholarship to secondary school students last week. He called on the company to assist the communities with science and technology specialized schools.

The excited beneficiaries expressed happiness at the flag off of the scheme, saying the programme would go a long way at equipping them with necessary skills required for latest vocational job techniques. They thanked the management of the Dangote Refinery for being a responsible corporate citizen. Lifting up 200 youths The vocational skills, which was launched in collaboration with the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) was, according to the company, designed to cover plumbing, masonry, welding, iron bending, auto mechanics and electrical works.

Edwin stated that the scheme geared towards instant value addition to the lives of the youths and their communities, would equip young men with trade skills that would prepare them for better opportunities. The Dangote Group boss said the company would continue to invest in projects that would add value to the lives of the people in the communities hosting its facilities across the country. He said: “At Dangote Industries Limited, our Corporate Social Responsibility projects are centred around the development and wellbeing of the people, especially our host communities.

In Ibeju Lekki, we have executed several projects that are enhancing the lives of the people. We have provided boreholes for all the communities, classrooms for the local school and we just awarded scholarships to 51 secondary school students. “This programme is another level of our intervention as it is targeted at providing vocational skills to the teeming youth population in our host communities.

The youths are veritable assets in any society and the quality of the youths determines the outlook of tomorrow’s society. Therefore, an investment in developing vocational skills among youths will yield the desired results.”

Re-entry of Ogoni

Popular among issues of sour relationship between oil company and its host community is the issue of Ogoniland. President Muhammadu Buhari has, however, ordered the re-entry of oil production in Ogoniland as well as full takeover of operatorship of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 11 from Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC). OML 11, which lies in the southeastern Niger Delta and contains 33 oil and gas fields, is one of the most important blocks in Nigeria in terms of production. The president, who gave the order in a restricted memo to the Group Managing Director of the NNPC exclusively obtained by New Telegraph, gave the Corporation a May 2 deadline to confirm the execution of the takeover order.

The memo dated March 1, 2019 with reference number SH/COS/24.A/8540 was signed by Chief of Staff of the President, Abba Kyari. “Kindly, note that the president has (a) directed NNPC/NPDC to takeover the operatorship from Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of the entire OML 11 not later that 30 April, 2019 and ensure smooth re-entry given the delicate situation in Ogoniland. “(b) directed NNPC/NPDC to confirm by 2 May, 2019 of the assumption of the operatorship,” the memo read. Titled: “Operatorship of Entire Oil Mining Lease (OML) 11,” the memo was internally shared among the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Operating Officer (COO), Group Executive Directors (GEDs) and Group General Managers with the NNPC headquarters.

Last line

The host community bill one of the four Bill’s from the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) should be passed by the National Assembly and should be assented to by the president. This bill will not only serve as a template for CSR but also keep militancy at bay. All efforts by Dangote Refinery, nay other oil companies, to lubricate the wheel of relationship between them and their host communities should be encouraged.