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Senate walks out minister’s representative from investigative hearing



Senate walks out minister’s representative from investigative hearing

Chris Ngige

Senate Committee on Local Content has warned of the alleged continuation of abuse and disregard to Nigeria’s diving regulations by the international oil companies, IOCs operating in the country.

This was even as it walked out the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Dr. Yerim Tarfa, who represented the minister, Dr. Chris Ngige as well as the representatives of IOCs including those of Chevron Nigeria Limited, Exxonmobil and TOTAL Nigeria Limited, among others from its investigative hearing on the alleged abuse.

Chairman of the committee, Senator Teslim Folarin, who gave the marching orders in Abuja, said the federal government could no longer tolerate such acts of sabotage in a sector he said was worth about $1billion annually.

According to him, the hearing was targeted at addressing the inherent shortcomings associated with the diving sector in the country following a motion titled: “Urgent need to ensure strict compliance with statutory regulations and provisions regarding the Nigerian diving sector and also to urge the Federal Ministry of Labour, Employment and Productivity to as a matter of urgency inaugurate the Diving Advisory Board to ensure the regulation of its operation in the sector.”

Senate walks out minister’s representative from investigative hearing

The former Senate Leader therefore declared that it was utterly condescending and a show of monumental disrespect for the institution of the National Assembly for the invited CEOs of the Ministry of Labour and the various IOCs to delegate other officers to represent them at the hearing.

He lamented that while the Schedule to the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act, 2010, provided that in order to encourage local participation in all aspects of oil operations, 70 percent of Diving or Submersible operations, must go to Nigerians, the reverse has been the case.

Senator Folarin said while the federal government spends huge funds in training divers annually, the IOCs have continued to deny Nigerian Divers employment by engaging foreign divers for their operations.

He insisted that the actions of the IOCs in deny Nigerian Divers jobs contributed to the growing unemployment in the labour market part of which led to the recent #EndSARS protests and other forms of agitations across the country.

The lawmaker said the plight of local divers was further worsened by the Minister of Labour and Employment, who hitherto neglected to inaugurate the Divers Advisory Board meant to regulate and oversee the activities of diving in the country.

He said that the Minister of Labour and Employment hurriedly inaugurated the Divers Advisory Board a few days after receiving the summons of the Committee to appear before it on the matter.

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