Reps to probe pipeline surveillance contracts in Bayelsa

The House of Representatives on Wednesday resolved to constitute an ad hoc committee to investigate pipeline surveillance contract and payment of contractors by Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NOAC) in Bayelsa.

The resolution followed the adoption of a motion by Rep. Frederick Agbedi (PDP-Bayelsa) and four other lawmakers at the plenary on Wednesday.

The committee is expected to ascertain the beneficiaries of the contracts, employment, the impact on the oil-producing communities and the country.

The committee is also expected to determine the effect of the contracts on the net national revenue derivable from Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the NAOC joint venture operations.

The green chamber said that NOAC should suspend all pipeline surveillance contracts pending the outcome of the investigation.

Leading debate on the motion, Mr Agbedi said that Bayelsa played host to NAOC, which had its personnel, pipelines and other oil installations spread in various communities in the state.

He said that as a result of pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta region and subsequent implementation of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, it was agreed that pipeline surveillance contracts be awarded to the host communities.

The lawmaker explained that the agreement was to foster development of the communities and empower the people.

Agbedi, however, alleged that rather than award the pipeline surveillance contracts to the host communities, the NAOC awarded the contracts to some favoured allies.

He said that the move had resulted in several conflicts in the respective communities as the youths felt marginalised and had, on several occasions, expressed their grievances through violent protests.

Mr Agbedi said that the youths sometimes clashed with security operatives attached to the contractors which had resulted in loss of lives and property.

According to him, unless this abnormality is corrected and the respective host communities are carried along, the issue will continue to brew violence in the state.

In his ruling, the Speaker of the house, Yakubu Dogara, said that the committee, when set up, would report back to the chamber within three weeks.

(NAN)

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