The Akwa Ibom State Government has frowned at multinational companies for adopting an unwholesome tactics to short-change their host communities.
The government says such ‘divide and rule’ approaches which are usually done to subvert the people are mostly carried out in concert with some greedy community leaders.
The Commissioner for Environment and Petroleum Resources, Sir Charles Udoh stated these on Thursday during the inauguration of Universal Energy Resources Memorandum of Understanding Implementation Committee in his office in Uyo.
The commissioner urged oil and gas companies operating within its territories to immediately take steps towards securing Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with their host communities by coming to his ministry.
“Other companies need to emulate Universal Energy Ltd by contacting the ministry to activate the process of negotiating agreements with their host communities.”
“I wish all community leaders understand that it is in their best interests to unite and work with the state government in their approach to engaging the oil and gas companies to attract more developments to their communities.”
The Environment and Petroleum boss said MoUs are veritable tools that enhance mutual coexistence and maintenance of peace in the host communities, adding that the ministry developed a standardized MoU template to guide the parties involved and ensure fairness in negotiations.
He appreciated the host communities of Universal Energy for their patience and peace in ensuring that the MoU was finally reached in spite of a three year delay after the expiration of the first agreement.
He also appreciated the Universal Energy Resources Ltd for being a good corporate citizen that ensured the MoU was signed in line with government’s directives.
In his response, the representative of Universal Energy Resources Ltd, Mr Bassey Umoh thanked the host communities, Universal Energy Resources Ltd and the Government for the success, describing it as a win win situation.
He said the company was able to discharge its corporate social responsibilities (CSR) in the community because of the unity of the stakeholders, the government and the communities.
Mr Umoh said with the MoU, the company has entered into agreement with the host communities on things to do to develop the community and the community will guarantee a safe, secure working environment for company to operate.
The MoU was subsequently presented to representative s of the host communities.