By Ignatius Okorocha
Senate on Thursday threatened to invoke necessary sanctions against Managing Directors of International Oil Companies (IOCs) in Nigeria for not appearing for an investigative hearing on diving operations in the oil and gas industry.
Sen. Teslim Folarin, Chairman Senate Committee on local content made the disclosure at an investigative hearing organised by the Committee on challenges experienced by diving operators in the sector.
He said Senate had mandated the committee to conduct an investigative hearing over a motion on urgent need to ensure strict compliance with statutory regulations and provisions on Nigerian diving sector.
According to him, Senate had also on its resolutions urged the Federal Ministry of Labour, Employment and Productivity to inaugurate the diving advisory board to ensure regulations of the diving sector.
“It had also urged the committee to investigate claims of contravention of relevant statutory provisions in the area of diving in the oil and gas sector,” Folarin said.
He said the committee had invited the managing directors of IOCs and Ministers of Labour, Employment and Productivity to appear before the committee to make presentations.
At the hearing, none of the Ministers of Labour and Managing Directors of IOCs were in attendance.
However, representatives of the various managing directors of IOC s and the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Labour Employment and Productivity were available to represent their principals.
Folarin, however, said the absence of the managing directors of IOCs was unacceptable to the committee, adding that the committee would not take presentations from the representatives of managing directors of the IOCs.
He therefore asked the representatives of the managing directors to excuse the committee and other attendees, noting that their managing directors must appear before the committee .
“What is surprising is that we invited the managing directors and that is the normal practice here in National Assembly.
“We will invite them again and if they don’t come, we will have to invoke our sanctions”.
Recall that the Directors of IOCs who were expected to make a physical appearance before the committee for the investigative hearing are that of ExxonMobil, Total Chevron among others.
Folarin also appealed to the operators in the diving sectors to be patient with the committee, noting that a new date would be slated to conduct the hearing.
He said the hearing was in the interest of Nigerians especially on local content developement in oil and gas sector
He said the Oil and Gas industry Content Development Act 2010 provided for encouragement of local participation in oil and gas operations.
According to him, section 28 sub section one provides that Nigerians should be accorded first considerations for employment and training in any project to be executed by any operator in the Industry.
He, however, said that it has been alleged that foreign dominance had deprived indigenous divers their rightful place in the sector, against the provisions of the law.