NIGERIA's Petroleum Resources Minister, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, on Monday got a seeming strange gift from a civil society group in the Niger Delta, as President Goodluck Jonathan's administration rolled the drums for the country's 13th Democracy Day.
Since May 29, 2000, Nigeria has been marking the day as their ''Democracy Day'' in celebration of the day the country was freed from decades of military dictatorship. Former President , started it all.
However, the Niger Delta Indigenous Movement for Radical Change (NDIMRC) does not seem to be comfortable with the way Allison-Madueke, was pursuing the country's Local Content Act.
They, therefore, want the oil minister to be more steadfast in driving the local content policy. As the Jonathan administration begins the second year of their four-year term, the Niger Delta group wants the minister to read a ''Riot Act'' to all the multi-national oil and gas corporations operating in the country on how they ''must adhere to the local content policy.
The group's President, Nelly Emma; Secretary, John Sailor and Public Relations Officer, Mukoro Stanley, in an online statement to AkanimoReports said, ''our Democracy Day gift to Allison-Madueke, is: Sanction oil majors for subverting government's local content law''.
Continuing, they said, ''two years on after President Jonathan signed the Nigerian Content Bill into law, most of the oil companies are still carrying on as if it is business as usual. Most of our indigenous oil servicing firms have demonstrated commitment to make the local content work. Unfortunately, they are not being encouraged by the oil majors who still prefer to deal with foreign oil servicing companies.”
The group said they are not comfortable with the way oil majors are treating ''our indigenous companies and the local content law. The time has come for the oil minister to read a Riot Act to Shell, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Total, and Agip. These oil majors must not be allowed to thwart the local content law''.
The aim of the law, according to them, ''is to stimulate local participation in the oil industry. But, if the law is continually being subverted, there is no way government can realize this dream. As a group, we are insisting that there should be no sacred cow in the oil sector''. ENDS