Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Executive Secretary of Nigerian Content Development Management Board (NCDMB), Mr. Simbi Wabote has stated that the NDCMB would be stepping up its enforcement of the local content law among oil and gas operators in Nigeria, adding that it was moving from just notifying operators of their infractions of the law to actually taking legal action against them.
Wabote stated this in his remarks when he was awarded the Juris Law Award by a former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Hon. Justice Alfa Belgore, for taking significant steps to promote the rule of law and economic growth in Nigeria through the local content law.
The award was the maiden edition and instituted by the Prof. Niyi Ayoola-Daniels, who is the President of the International Institute for Petroleum, Energy Law and Policy (IIPELP), and a visiting professor of energy law and policy in the University of Port Harcourt.
He said in a statement signed by Ayoola-Daniels and sent to THISDAY in Abuja, that he was committed to ensuring that the rule of law was observed in the local content law of the oil industry, adding that henceforth, oil and gas companies who fail to comply with the provisions of the law will be dragged before the law courts of the country.
â€œNCDMB is changing gear from writing letters of non-compliance on infractions to actual prosecution of offenders who think they can trample on the law of the land on local content and get away with it,â€ said Wabote.
In the statement, Wabote was also applauded for driving positive changes in Nigeriaâ€™s local content law for her oil and gas industry through the instrumentality of the law and institution of the judiciary to ensure compliance to the law by oil and gas companies.
In a related development, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said it would support the federal governmentâ€™s efforts to diversify Nigeriaâ€™s economy away from its overdependence on revenue from crude oil to other means like agriculture, commerce and industry.
NNPCâ€™s Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, reportedly said this at the just concluded 39th edition of the Kaduna International Trade Fair in Kaduna.
Baru explained it was imperative to intensify and support the governmentâ€™s economic diversification program to free the economy from the vagaries of oil price volatility, which he noted could spell doom for the country during periods of glut.
He stated that a renewed focus on commerce, industry and agriculture would have a greater impact on the standard of living of Nigerians, adding: â€œThese sectors can engage more people in productive activities compared to oil and gas which despite its significance, accounts for only 12.7 per cent of the countryâ€™s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).â€