By Ibironke Ariyo
The Host Communities of Nigeria, Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCON) has charged northern states on greater inclusiveness and participation of the region in the oil and gas sector to tackle unemployment in the country.
Chairman, HOSTCON, Kogi and North Central, Bishop Gabriel Ojoka, gave the advice during an accreditation and planning of programme for the inauguration of oil producing states in the north in Abuja on Thursday.
Ojoka said the call became imperative following the recent signing of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) by President Muhammadu Buhari on Aug. 16.
He noted that the provisions of the PIA allowed states take responsibility for oil and gas facilities, particularly pipeline surveillance.
He added that Niger Delta had already done that, saying that it would give room for more job creation if northern states did the same.
“We have to educate and enlighten people to know that they have windows of opportunities for job creation in that particularly PIA.
“We have been on courtesy call to several of the chairmen to the states and traditional councils in northern states, and we have written to several northern states governors,” Ojoka said.
He stated that it was only Kogi that was on board as far back as 2015/2016, but as of today, other northern states had started indicating interest and this showed progress in the advocacy.
“So with pipelines in the North, the fact remains that they can participate in the dividend of the oil and gas.
“For instance, Kaduna State has a refinery but they have not been declared and they need to participate and we have other places we have found out as well,” he said.
Also speaking, the Odomata Igala, Kogi, Dr Ocheni Jacob, tasked all northern states to put hands together for the unity of the country following the recognition of Kogi as an oil region.
Jacob noted that youths across the region would not be left behind in terms of employment provided a united front was created to achieve the great development.
“Since one of the states has been recognised as one of the oil producing state, which is Kogi and our natural resources is enormous, we will laugh last,” he said.
HOSTCON’s legal Adviser, Attah Isaac, said the aim and objective of the meeting was for the northern states to reap from being part of oil producing states.
“The welfare of our teeming youths will be enhanced and with this pipeline security arrangement on board, I am sure some of them will have security duties to perform and they will earn a living from there,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) into law in a bid to reform Nigeria’s oil and gas industry On Aug. 16.
Oil and gas is the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy, contributing about 10 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product. (NAN)