Enageed Resources Limited, a Sahara Group Company, has inaugurated the Host Communities Development Trust (HCDT) Board to foster enhanced collaboration, sustainable impact, and overall well-being of all communities within the Oil Mining Licence (OML) 148 asset.
This is in compliance with provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA). The formal inauguration took place in Benin City, Edo State.
According to the Act, companies are expected to contribute 3 per cent of their Operating Expenses (OPEX) into the Host Communities Development Fund to drive socio-economic development across different parameters. The funds so contributed are to be managed by the HCDT.
Speaking at the inauguration, Yaro Aminu, representing Engr Gbenga Komolafe, the Chief Executive of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), said the commission had developed robust implementation strategies for the Trusts to address restiveness among the host communities.
Aminu added that successful implementation would guarantee seamless operations of the Exploration and Production Companies while also providing an enabling environment for the sustainable development of the Country’s hydrocarbon resources.
“The commission would also like to draw attention to the members of the Board of Trustees to the provision of Section 257 (2) & (3) as it refers to vandalism, sabotage and civil disobedience and the associated deductions from the accrued 3 per cent that may arise therefrom and the need to stem the negative tide and foster prosperity in our various host communities,” he said.
According to Umar Mohammed, who represented Bala Wunti, the Chief Upstream Investment Officer, NUIMS, the HCDT as established under the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021, reflects the Government’s commitment to ensuring operations benefit the Host communities in tangible and long-lasting ways.
Mohammed noted that NNPC’s vision for social intervention underscores the need for companies to operate in an ethical and sustainable manner and deal with the environment and social impacts occasioned by their activities.
“To ensure transparency and accountability, the trust is set up to be managed by Board of Trustees having representatives of the Host communities and a secretary from the settlor, all who are of high integrity and professional standing,” he added.
The Edo State Commissioner of Mining and Energy, Hon. Enaholo Ojiefoh, commended Enageed Resources for spearheading the setting up of the first HCDT is in Edo State, adding that this was characteristic of the commitment of Enageed’s parent company, the Sahara Group, to “robust, responsive, collaborative and sustainable community relations.” Hon. Ojiefoh said the Edo State Government would continue to ensure the communities’ support to Enageed Resources. The Commissioner appreciated the communities for the success stories received from Enageed, noting that the Government would continue to work towards ensuring that host communities are primed for attracting investors to operate in Edo State.
Also speaking at the inauguration, Adaeze Aguele-Kalu, the Edo State Commissioner of Budget and Planning urged the communities to continue to show their unwavering support to the company and the Edo State Government will always their backing.
The Head of Stakeholder and Community Relations, Babatomiwa Adesida, said Enageed Resources followed clear guidelines, expectations, and requirements provided by NUPRC and NUIMIS when appointing the Board of Trustees, as shown by the wealth of educational qualification, experience and community exposure constituting the group. Adesida said: “we are confident that the Board of Trustees will further transform the impact of our collaboration with all stakeholders in the communities contributing and benefiting transparently and equitably.”
In his remarks, Alexander Orogun, the Chairman of the AJOAKOKAJIM Host Communities Trust, stated this is boldest and most laudable step of government to overhaul the Nigerian petroleum sector is the conceptualization through the legislation and subsequent implementation of the PIA which was signed into law on 21st August 2021.
He also mentioned the implementation by Enageed Resources is a dream come true and with the crop of the carefully nominated Board members, no doubt, the host communities will witness massive infrastructural development in the rich by impoverished communities of OML 148 Host Communities.
Scott Omasan, the Ajoki Community Secretary, spoke briefly, saying the communities have looked forward to the Board Inauguration and thanked Enageed Resources for their continuous support towards the community.
The implementation of the PIA in the communities would ensure continuous sustainable development in the community and increase pipeline security in the communities.