The Anambra State Government has called upon oil-producing communities within the Ogbaru council area to prioritize peace and unity, aiming to unlock benefits from oil companies operating in Nigeria.
During a recent workshop organized by the Ministry for Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Barrister Anthony Ifeanya, the State Commissioner for Petroleum and Mineral Resources, emphasized the importance of fostering lasting peace and harmony. These elements are crucial for creating a favorable environment that supports business growth and overall development, aligning with the administration’s objectives under Professor Chukwuma Soludo’s leadership.
Stakeholders representing various segments of the participating communities, including town unions, youth organizations, and the traditional institution, attended the workshop. The goal was to educate these communities, such as Ogwu-Ikpere and Ogwu-Aniocha, about their rights under the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) of 2021. This knowledge is essential to facilitate rapid development in all host communities.
Barrister Ifeanya highlighted the need for both oil companies and host communities to fulfill their obligations as stipulated by the law. He emphasized that the host communities’ trust fund is designed for community development rather than individual gains, reinforcing the importance of collective prosperity.
Presenting a paper titled “Relationship with Host Communities: Sustainability and the Environment,” Barrister Richard Ezechukwuma stressed the significance of fostering a harmonious relationship between settlers and host communities. This cooperative approach not only benefits the government but also aligns with the Petroleum and Mineral Resources mandate to establish a Host Communities Trust Fund, promoting both prosperity and peaceful coexistence within the petroleum industry.
According to Professor Kingsley Nwozor, a member of the Anambra State Oil and Gas Development Committee, the state’s commitment to learning from past errors positions it on a trajectory of swift development among host communities. The strengthened relationship between the state and host communities ensures mutual benefits.
In response, Mr. Austine Brown, representing the Community Relationship Management, conveyed gratitude to the state for its proactive role in resolving community issues. He pledged to operate within the boundaries of the law, exemplifying the commitment of these communities to a positive and constructive partnership.