…Our Position on GMOUs Is To Guard Against Shortchanging of Communities-Govt
Bayelsa state government has clarified that its stance of being involved in the preparation of Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoUs) is to protect the interest of communties that enter into such agreements with corporate organizations operating in the state.
The state Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, made the clarification on Monday at a meeting with Traditional Rulers from Brass Local Government Area in his office in Yenagoa.
He assured that Government would do everything within its reach to ensure the successful implementation of the agreement between the Brass Fertilizer Company and the people of Brass.
The Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo said government’s intervention in the contract was to protect the people from being shortchanged rather than scuttle the take-off of the project as speculated in the New Media by mischief makers.
In a press release by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Doubara Atasi, he reminded the people that conflicts in most communities were traceable to particularly oil companies’ failure in honouring memoranda of understanding with their host communities.
Accordingly, he said henceforth all such MoUs must be signed with the involvement of the state government in order to avert situations where a company would renege on its agreements and promote peace in the communities.
His words, “Now on the issue of companies not recognizing communties, there is a rule/law that states that if you are not a party to an agreement, you cannot acquire right and incur liability.
” If there is an agreement and there is no third party that witnessed the agreement, it becomes a problem, because when they (companies) overwhelm you, there is nothing you can do.
“So, what government is trying to do is to put an eye and watch and not that it wants to take over the running of MoUs.
Rather, government wants to ensure that if a company is coming to operate, for example, in Twon-Brass, we must know what the company is coming to do there and content of the agreement they sign with the community.
“The government is not scuttling your MoU with companies. If government is in the know of what you have signed with them, it can then force the companies to implement what they have agreed to do.”
While also highlighting the role of the traditional institution in society, Senator Ewhrudjakpo urged royal fathers, local government council chairmen and other community leaders to step up efforts at assisting security personnel by profiling visitors to various communities in the state.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo equally expressed displeasure over the inability of local government council chairmen to meet monthly with other stakeholders in their areas as directed by the state government.
In their separate remarks, member representing Brass Constituency Two and Minority Whip in the State House of Assembly, Hon. Omubo Agala and Dr. Charles Daniel representing Brass Constituency One, commended the Senator Douye Diri-led administration for taking a bold step in protecting the overall interest of Brass people in the Brass Fertilizer project.
Hon. Agala also lauded the state government’s efforts at providing security patrol for trader boats, pleading that additional security measures should be taken to safeguard passenger boats in addition to other strategies of stamping out the activities of sea pirates from the waterways.
Also, Chairman, State Traditional Rulers Council and Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass, King Alfred Diete-Spiff, advocated the need to look into the welfare of traditional rulers.
King Diete-Spiff also spoke on the need to prevail on the federal government for the completion of the Nembe-Brass road, Brass LNG, create more local government areas, establish waterways safety corps, training of boat builders among others.
Other traditional rulers who spoke were, Chief Baratuaipre Eketei Amaene, Amanyanabo of Die-ama community, Acting Clan Head of Akassa Kingdom Chief P. W. Consul-Oluku and Dr. Alali Ikpeyaigula, Amanyanabo of Akabeleu-ama community.
Others are, Chief Golden Ebiye Siriteh, Amadabo of Kemmer Town, Twon Brass, Regent Chief Rowland Tamunobere of Liama community and Chief Beinmo Spiff, Amadabo of Cameron-Ama.
Also at the meeting, some top government functionaries including the Commissioner for Solid Minerals, Dr Ebieri Jones, and Commissioner for Special Duties, Bayelsa East, Hon. Preye Broderick highlighted ongoing activities in their ministries in line with the policy thrust of the Prosperity administration.