While some of those that attended the just concluded oil and Gas conference in Port Harcourt titled The Nigerian Content Act And Deregulation: Issues and Prospects organized by the Rivers State House of Assembly’s House Committee on Oil and Gas in conjunction with the Port Harcourt chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHCCIMA) say that the conference did not live up to its billing irrespective of the vast array of multinational companies that attended, others in their opinions feel it was able to achieve the desired goals.
One of the attendees to the conference and the regional manager of Dorman Long Engineering Company Limited, Mr. Cyprian Iwuagwu during the conference tacitly threw up a challenge to almost all the multinational organizations operating in the Niger delta charging them to tag along in the employment axis just as they tear and lacerate the Niger Delta zone in their quest to explore and exploit oil. According to Mr. Cyprian, it will remain a total disservice if one exploits the God-given wealth of a people and refuses to engage same in the process. He stated that the youths of the Niger Delta are able and capable to compete and compare with their counterparts elsewhere in the world and so does not see the reason why they should not be engaged in the process of exploiting and exploring of oil in their zone.
He said, “Because we’ve seen the potential of the youths in this clime and what they can do Dorman Long thus makes it a policy to make the bulk of their employees indigenes of wherever they operate and do business. Today, he continued, “we are regularly and consistently training and engaging Niger Delta youths from Bayelsa to Rivers State and to elsewhere where our business is domiciled.
Mr. Cyprian noted that the essence of employing that policy is to emphasize that as the job being done is so to speak a Nigerian thing the local content initiative should apply as it would be very instructive to engage Nigerians most especially those from the immediate environment where the company is engaged in activities because some day these youths would take over even if Dorman Long stops her operations in the zone for any reason. And when they are on their own,” he stressed “they will grow, develop in their respective capacities to be experts”. In this way, Dorman Long he said, has continued to impact positively on every neighbourhood it has worked. For instance he continued, in Bayelsa State, not less than one thousand youths have been trained and engaged by Dorman Long pointing out that in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the company is doing the same.
The regional manger also commented on the efforts of his company outside Nigeria, in Gabon precisely where he said that all the blacks working for Dorman Long are Nigerians recruited by Dorman Long emphasizing that time will come when through his organization Nigerians would be able to handle steel projects for big oil conglomerates.
Mr. Cyprian congratulated the House Committee on Oil and Gas led by Mr. Evans Bipi for a successful hosting of the conference which is the third of its kind in Rivers State.
In a related development Mr. Acho Ohochukwu the Managing Director of Northern Oilfield a big oil services conglomerate with branches in America and Ghana has stressed that it is not enough to hold conferences on local content but that what is most imperative is the implementation of all resolutions contained in the communiqué saying that employment of youths of the region remains an instructive thing to do. Mr. Acho frowned at the idea of handing out palliatives and hand outs to youths in a miserly style stating that it is a wrong thing to continue to give a young man fish rather he said, “what is best is to teach him how to fish”.
He congratulated the House committee on Oil and Gas saying that the House Assembly has greatly impressed him.
Mr. Acho who exemplified the trappings of an upward mobile and focused gentleman reiterated the lack of concerted efforts to engage the youths meaningfully and take them off the streets pointing out that the amnesty programme was good but that it should be handled in such a way as to bring about a balance.
In that guise the young MD beseeched the House committee and the state House of Assembly to make sure that all that was said and discussed were strictly legislated upon and seriously implemented for the betterment of the Niger Deltans and Nigerians generally. ###