(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) -The Rivers State House of Assembly has urged Niger Delta Petroleum Resources Limited, NDPR, an oil company being hosted by communities in Abua/Odual, Emohua and Ahoada East Local Government Areas of the state to enter into a new Global Memorandum of Understanding, GMOU, with the communities consequent upon the expiration of the old one and ensure its implementation to check restiveness in the state.
This resolution was announced by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ikiuinyi Owaji- Ibani on Tuesday after a robust debate on the report of a committee that looked into the petition of host communities to the Assembly.
The speaker also counseled that the memorandum of understanding should be community specific because of their peculiar circumstances and needs and that, after the preparation, a copy of the memorandum should be sent to the Rivers State House of Assembly.
Maintaining that the recommendations of the House Committee will be a useful bases for the proposed memorandum of understanding, Rt. Hon. Ibani added that it will be difficult for the host communities to hold the company accountable if there is no document clearly stating their expectations and agreements reached.
He further hinted that the Rivers State House of Assembly will continue to do its best to protect and defend the interest of the state and its people, even as he lamented that labour laws, as it relates to national and multinational corporations have always been against the interest of host communities in the state, resulting in untold sufferings and restiveness.
Earlier, Hons. Martins Amaewhule, Innocent Barikor, B. Anabraba, Enemi George, Christain Ahiakwo and others in their contributions had congratulated the House Hommittee on Public Petitions led by Hon. Evans Bipi, lawmaker representing Ogu/Bolo for doing a good job, describing the committee recommendations as very good bases for the GMOU that the petitioners were demanding.
They also harped on the need for NDPR to enter into a GMOU with the communities, adding that it is an anomaly for communities not to be represented in the board of trustees that is managing the fund set aside for host community development.
Earlier, the Assembly had debated on the Ken Beeson Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic, Bori Bill repealing some sections of the Principal Law and effecting some changes to bring it in tune with current realities as demanded by the National Board for Technical Education in Nigeria.
Ruling after the debate, the speaker, Rt. Hon. Ibani directed the Education Committee to carry out a public hearing to get inputs from relevant stakeholders and report back in 14 days.