- American Oil Firm Accused of Violating Local Content Act
Some Nigerians working with an American oil and gas service firm, Weatherford International, have raised the alarm over gross abuse of local laws and sharp practices being perpetrated by the Nigerian subsidiary of the company, Weatherford Nigeria, against them.
A source at the company, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the firm has carried on with many anti-Nigerian policies such as mass sack on flimsy excuses and appointment of a foreigner as Country Manager in clear violation of Nigerian Local Content Act, which is one of the significant developments aimed at localising management and control of oil and gas industry.
The source said apart from the fact that there were many qualified Nigerians capable of running the firm as Country Manager, the foreigner who was appointed, Manuel Hernandez from Venezuela, came into Nigeria via Business Visa and has been working as an expatriate without the necessary work permit.
Going down history of the firm, the source said a Nigerian, Femi Thomas was appointed as Country Manager of the company and was there for about two years before he was redeployed as Vice President for Africa, while another Nigerian, Femi Akarikiri, was appointed to succeed him, only for the said Akarikiri to be demoted after just a year in office and replaced with Hernandez.
According to the source, “The first issue is that this is not an industry where you can claim there are no qualified Nigerians for the job because oil and gas industry in Nigeria is fully sophisticated. Number two is that for the fact that you have had Nigerians in that position, the position has been nationalised and so you cannot go back and revert to say that you now need to bring an expatriate.
“The third issue is that you lay off a lot of Nigerians because you claim the industry is bad and you have no money to pay but yet the question is how can you afford to pay expatriates if you have laid off Nigerians who earn a fraction of what the expatriates earn?
“By the time you look at that picture, what you see is a company that does not have any commitment to Nigeria or any respect to the ideals of the country. They want to get paid, they want to drill for oil, they want to make money, but where is the growth for Nigerians in that process? The average Nigerian employee in the company earn less than $1,000 a month, but the average expatriate earns $20, 000 a month or more. How can you afford one expatriate if you lay off Nigerians on the basis that you can’t afford to pay them,” the source queried.
Already, the source said the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) had been notified of the development, but that there was great need to raise the alarm over the mass sack of over 100 Nigerians and other deliberate plot of the company against Nigerians for prompt action by the Nigerian government and other key stakeholders.
Another credible source, who equally does not want to be named, said as part of the plot to sideline Nigerians from the management of the company, the said Akarikiri was demoted from Country Manager to sales role in a market where there is nothing to sell, adding that the development was purely orchestrated to eventually fire him.
He added that in another scheme to disguise the actual intention of sidelining Nigerians in the affairs of the company, a Nigerian who was on international assignment in Ivory Coast was brought in on the promise of being attached to the said Hernandez, but he was surprisingly moved to Port Harcourt and put in a lesser role from what he was doing in Ivory Coast.
He said the expatriates that were purportedly fired alongside Nigerians were offered jobs in other countries, while Nigerians were left with nothing.
“The truth is this same company has been sued in the past by former directors for sham board practices and as we speak, there are a number of others contemplating suing them. Well meaning Nigerians should be careful of doing business with them and they should not be allowed to continue to benefit where they are shortchanging Nigerians,” the source said.
As at the time of filling this report, several calls made to the Company Secretary/Legal Counsel, Lara Falashe and text messages for reaction were unanswered, while the calls were not returned.
Oyo State Budgets N330M Monthly To Support Community Policing In LGAs
Oyo State Governor, Seye Makinde has said that the state has set aside a monthly budget of N330 million to be spent on security across the 33 local governments in the state.
The governor who disclosed this in Ibadan said each local government in the state is expected to spend N10 million to support the security of lives and property in their domain.
He said part of the measures was the instruction to local government chairmen to involve traditional rulers as well as other voluntary residents in policing their areas.
Each local government is to spend N10 million monthly on this security arrangement.
Makinde explained that the initiative amounts to spending N330 million in the 33 local government areas, besides other efforts the state government had put in place to tighten security.
“We said each local government should set up a security committee, which should include traditional rulers and voluntary people willing to police their areas.
“I encouraged them to budget N10 million to service the committee every month. For the entire state, that’s N330 million per month by all local governments, excluding what we are doing generally at the state level,” the governor told a group on a visit to him during the recent Muslim festival.
“On security, most of the data in the past months shows that things are now improving. The Igangan incident, some days ago, was only falsified by some people who were saying that Fulani herdsmen had invaded Igangan again. The truth is actually about the NCS and smugglers. They know each other.
“Customs officials were accused to have entered Igangan, which is not a border town. But we are working with Federal authorities and they have arrested most of them.
“The gun that was collected is still with us. I said I won’t release it until I get the attention of the Federal authorities.
“In the Constitution of Nigeria, Oyo State is a federating unit. We are not saying Federal agencies should not carry out their operations here. But they must tell us; they must inform us. They may not disclose the details of the operation to us, but we must know about it.
“If we had known about the operation, we would have pre-informed the security detail in the town and those who died could have been alive. The Amotekun Coordinator that died in Igboora would have still been alive today.
“How can you go operating in an unidentified vehicle in a town where the security tactics have been heightened? As they wanted to enter the town, they were confronted because we have heightened security in all of those places.
“So, we will keep appealing to them and to our people that false information won’t help anybody. Nobody will profit politically from the security issues we are faced with. It is our collective responsibility. The people will play their part and the government will play its own part,” Makinde said.
Security Operatives Arrest Sunday Igboho in Cotonou, Benin Republic
The security operatives in Cotonou, Benin Republic have arrested Yoruba freedom fighter, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho.
An anonymous source privy to the arrest disclosed on Tuesday morning.
According to the source, Sunday Igboho was arrested in Cotonou while trying to travel to Germany from the West African nation.
President Buhari-led administration is now working with the Benin government to repatriate him to Nigeria.
The source said, “Sunday Igboho has been arrested in Cotonou. He was arrested about an hour ago.
“He was supposed to travel to Germany through Cotonou this night. He wanted to leave Africa through Cotonou. He was arrested by security operatives in Cotonou.
“They are planning to bring him back to Nigeria.”
It would be recalled that the Department of State Services had declared Igboho wanted after its operatives carried out a bloody midnight raid on his residence in the Soka area of Ibadan, Oyo State.
DSS Public Relations Officer, Peter Afunnaya, had advised Igboho to turn himself in to the nearest security.
“Those cheering and eulogizing him may appeal to or advice him to do the needful,” Afunnaya said. “He should surrender himself to the appropriate authorities. He or anyone can never be above the law.”
Pelumi Olajengbesi, one of the lawyers representing Igboho and others arrested in his House, told SaharaReporters he had not confirmed the news of Igboho’s arrest in Cotonou.
“I will contact Yomi Aliu (SAN) to verify the news,” he said.
IOM Ethiopia Appeals for USD 40 Million to Assist Additional 1.6 Million People in Northern Ethiopia
Nearly two million people affected by the crisis in northern Ethiopia desperately need life-saving assistance, including water, medicine and shelter, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said today as it issued an urgent appeal for USD 40 million to help internally displaced men, women and children, including newborn babies.
Since the outbreak of the conflict eight months ago in Ethiopia’s Tigray Regional State, millions of people are enduring unimaginable suffering, including forced displacement, hunger, death, and destruction of private and public property.
In Tigray, IOM has been providing support to more than half a million people, including displaced children, women, men, and vulnerable groups such as pregnant women and persons with disabilities. This includes shelter and provision of essential items such as food, water, clothing, medicine and supplies for babies, as well as sanitation and hygiene services.
IOM has also been supporting camp coordination and management efforts, providing mental health care to those in need, and producing Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) reports to shed light on the evolving situation.
Nearly USD 70 million (USD 69.3M) is needed to respond to the needs of internally displaced populations in northern Ethiopia but only USD 28.7 million has been received this year. IOM needs an extra USD 40.6 million for the remainder of 2021 to be able to continue and further expand its response to help the displaced.
“The nearly two million people displaced by this crisis continue to live in inhumane and undignified conditions and require critical and urgent support,” said Maureen Achieng, IOM Chief of Mission to Ethiopia and Representative to the African Union and UNECA. “IOM Director General António Vitorino said it before, and we say it again: we must act without delay to meet the needs of people in the region.”
The situation in Tigray remains volatile. In partnership and coordination with other UN agencies, IOM is committed to delivering life-saving humanitarian assistance, to continue reaching people in need. IOM is planning to significantly scale up response programming and increase the deployment of senior IOM staff in the region despite the severe shortage of funding.
IOM’s response is aligned with the Inter-Cluster Coordination Group’s (ICCG) – a cooperative effort among sectors and the Humanitarian Country Team to improve the national response – Northern Ethiopia Response Plan, which estimates that 5.2 million people are in dire need in the worst-case scenario of this escalating humanitarian crisis.
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