NGO Enlightens Akwa Ibom Community On PIA Implementation

A Non-Governmental Organisation, the Connected Development (CODE), in partnership with OXFAM, has engaged the Ibeno community, one of the host communities in the oil-producing areas of Akwa Ibom, on advocacy training towards the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

The Trustees of the community were empowered on how to monitor and hold the government accountable in all its activities, especially as it affects the people of the area.

The Executive Director of CODE, Mr Hamzat Lawal, who spoke at the event in Ibeno on Thursday, observed the participants telling stories about how their community have been affected by the activities of the oil-producing companies without the oil company showing much concern for their plight.

Lawal said that the advocacy is to acquaint the communities with what is expected from the oil companies to ensure sustainability, empower them on how to track capital funds, how to do advocacy and engage the government and oil companies.

“Connected Development is Africa’s leading non-governmental organisation that empowers marginalised societies. We do this by creating platforms for both the citizens and the government.

“I have been on an official two-day visit to Akwa Ibom State. First was to visit host communities that are made to endure exploration by oil companies being regulated by the government of Nigeria.

“I was able to meet with some board members and management in the Ibeno community, where I got some fillers and some challenges, especially around the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

“I also did an outreach to one of the coastal communities just to see first-hand what is happening in the community.

“For us, we are trying to assess how the government is implementing PIA in the host communities, particularly around development in the host communities and especially setting up the committees that are meant to manage the resources,” Lawal said.

Earlier, the Chairman of the Ibeno host communities, Mr James Utiaruk, decried the lack of cooperation among oil companies and host communities.

He called for an amendment of the PIA to make it better for oil-producing communities as there were still abandoned projects littered all over the communities.

He added that oil communities were still being marginalised despite the enactment of the Petroleum Industry Act in the country.

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