“Apart from the fact that most of their jobs are awarded to companies in which they have interest, even where a few Niger Delta contractors are engaged, they deliberately refuse to pay these contractors, sometimes for up to two years,” the letter read.
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide has expressed dissatisfaction over the flagrant abuse of the Nigerian Local Content Law by indigenous oil firm owners in the Niger Delta, regretting that rather than improve the fortunes of the region, it has improverished the people.
In an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari by Eric Omare and Henry Iyalla, president and spokesman of the IYC, respectively, the youth noted that the abuse of the law by oil field owners and operators have “totally relegated the Niger Delta communities, entrepreneurs and contractors to the background”.
The organisation pointed out that since the beginning of the implementation of the law in the last few years, the situation in the Niger Delta has worsened, stressing that the poverty rate in the oil and gas communities have increased astronomically.
The letter read: “The Nigerian owners of the divested assets, apart from acquiring the oil fields, have incorporated multitude of companies with which they execute nearly all contracts in the value chain of their operations to the detriment of the local Niger Delta contractors.
“Apart from the fact that most of their jobs are awarded to companies in which they have interest, even where a few Niger Delta contractors are engaged, they deliberately refuse to pay these contractors, sometimes for up to two years.
“Just as they give contracts that ought to be done by the local contractors to their relatives and subsidiary companies, they also give available employment opportunities that ought to be given to indigenes of the host communities to their own relatives to the detriment of the people of the host communities.”
While calling on the Nigerian government to prevail on the indigenous oil field owners to ensure compliance with the Local Content Law, pay contractors and employe graduates and youth from the region, the IYC also demanded that “the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources should investigate the activities of the indigenous oil field owners with respect to their contract awards, recruitment, and compliance with the local content requirement in relation to host communities”.