N18.4bn Compensation: We’re Evaluating Senate Resolution, Says NLNG
Sunday Aborisade in Abuja
The Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) has said it is evaluating the Senate resolution on the N18.4 billion compensation approved for some host communities in Rivers State.
The Upper Chamber had on Tuesday directed the NLNG Limited to pay N18.4 billion compensation to 73 communities of Obiafu, Soku and Bonny in Rivers State.
The money is for the host communities because the national gas firm acquired their land and deprived the people, the right of way through the communities due to pipelines.
The Senate further directed that the payment should be made within 60 days.
The resolutions were adopted after the Senate considered the report of its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions that investigated a petition by the communities.
However, the NLNG Limited, in a statement on Wednesday by its
General Manager, External Relations and Sustainable Development, Andy Odeh, said the firm was studying the resolution.
Part of the statement read: “The attention of the NLNG Limited has been drawn to a resolution said to have been passed by the Senate, following the consideration of a report by its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, sequel to a petition relating to compensation for the acquisition of a Right of Way across some communities.
“NLNG is evaluating the resolution and circumstances surrounding it.
“NLNG wishes to state that it has always conducted its business responsibly and in accordance with the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, including in this specific matter.”
The Chairman of the Senate Committee, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, while presenting the report, said following its incorporation, the NLNG acquired landed properties in Rivers State spanning over 210 kilometres.
He said the land was the use of its pipelines Right of Way which ended at the export terminal of the NLNG in Finima, Bonny Local Government of the state.
Akinyelure said: “That there were over 73 communities and over 200 families whose hitherto agrarian source of livelihood were negatively impacted upon by the said acquisition.
“That after the the recent intervention of the Senate and after being given one month instead of 7 days allowed by the Senate to provide evidence of payment to the Committee, the NLNG could only show evidence of payment to some individuals, families and communities.
“The total amount it paid for part of the 210 kilometres of land acquired for pipelines Rights of Way was N74,642,773.00 which is not significant when compared to the sum of N18.4 bn approximately demanded by the 73 communities and over 200 families, which has never been objected to by the NLNG Limited up till now.
“That the payment made covered only 39 communities and 73 individuals and families; and that there was no Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the communities and NLNG on future obligations in the name of Corporate Social Responsibility with the impacted communities.
“There was evidence that other oil companies such as Shell Petroleum Development Company, Totalfina, Elf Petroleum, Agip Oil Company paid compensation for the loss of use of land to their host communities.
“NLNG confessed that the payments were made long ago and could not reasonably trace most of the payment documents but promised to look for further evidence to show that it paid stakeholders concerned if given another one month to enable it to do so.
“The Committee considered their request unnecessary and unreasonably, having granted NLNG one month earlier instead of 7 days allowed by the Senate at plenary to conclude its report.”
Meanwhile, the Senate has suspended consideration of the report of its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions urging the National Security Adviser to vacate the request he made to the DSS to watch list one Mr. Sunny Oghale Ofehe.
The suspension of the report followed observations by many senators that watch listing citizens is one of the ways of monitoring crime suspects by security agencies.
They argued that it would amount to meddling in the affairs of DSS by directing it to vacate the watch-list placed on the petitioner.
Presenting the report earlier, Akinyelure said the DSS confirmed that it placed Ofehe on watch-list on June 3rd, 2009 following a request from the office of the NSA via a letter with reference number NSA/INT/366/S, dated May 28th 2009.
He said: “In the letter, the petitioner was accused of being a self acclaimed activist and President/Founder of Hope For the Niger Delta Campaign (HNDC) who went to the Netherlands and sought for political asylum on the basis of a false claim that the Federal Government of Nigeria assassinated his mother in the course of the Niger Delta crisis.
“He was also accused of using his organisation to swindle money from the Dutch government and other environmental organisations under the guise of facilitating peace process in the Niger Delta.”