Senate summons NLNG for refusing to pay compensation to 73 communities for acquired lands

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• Gives one-week ultimatum

The Senate has given the management of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited a one-week ultimatum to appear before its committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions or face the consequences for failing to do so.

The summons was issued on Wednesday by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, when the chamber considered a report by the Ethics Committee on the refusal by NLNG to pay compensation for lands acquired from seventy-three (73) host communities in Rivers State.

The report was against the backdrop of a petition received from one Chief Enyinna Onuegbu on behalf of the communities located in Obiafu, Soku to Bonny, respectively.

The consideration of the report was, however, stepped down midway by the chamber, pending the outcome of the summons on NLNG.

The Senate President, while issuing the summons said, “Instead of just saying NLNG should go and pay 18 billion and at the end of the day nothing happens, let us give NLNG one more chance, and this should be by the Senate itself, not our committee.

“I am sure NLNG is listening. NLNG should appear within one week before our Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions with their evidence of compensation.

“If they fail, then the Senate will take a decision on NLNG in this respect.”

Chairman of the Ethics Committee, Senator Ayo Akinyelure (Ondo Central), in his presentation, said that, “following the incorporation of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG), it acquired landed properties in Rivers State in 1996 spanning over 210 kiln for use as its pipelines Right of Way (ROW) which ended at the export terminal of the NLNG in Finima Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State.

“That there were over 73 Communities and over 200 families whose hitherto agrarian source of livelihood were negatively impacted upon by the said acquisition;

“That NLNG neither proved nor showed evidence to the Committee that it paid compensation to the 73 Communities for loss of use of their land to pipelines Right of Way (ROW); and that there was no Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Communities and NLNG on future obligations in the name of Corporate Social Responsibility with the impacted communities;

“That there was evidence that other Oil Companies such as Shell Petroleum Development Company, Totalfina Elf Petroleum Nigeria Ltd, Agip oil Corporation paid compensation for loss of use of land to their Host Communities; and

“That the Communities were claiming the sum of N18,448,842,500,00 being compensation for the loss of use of their land as at May, 2020.”

Meanwhile, the Senate has urged the Federal Ministry of Education to forthwith issue one Mr. Sunday M. Akinwale a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) exemption certificate.

This was contained in a resolution reached sequel to the consideration of a report by the Ethics Committee on a petition received from Mr. Akinwale against the Minister of Education and the Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps for non-release of his NYSC exemption letter.

Akinyelure, in his presentation, stated that the petitioner “graduated with LLB (Hons.) in Law at the age of 41 and has proceeded to Bar 1 and 2 and has been called to the Nigerian Bar and he currently practices as partner at Lawville Chambers in Akure, Ondo State;

“That Birmingham City University was an accredited institution in the United Kingdom and wondered why the Federal Ministry of Education should not evaluate his credential and process the release of his exemption certificate after he had proceeded to Law School, and having been called to the Nigerian Bar and currently, a practicing Lawyer;

“That the Federal Ministry of Education subjected Sunday Akinwale to harsh conditions by compelling him to go and re-sit for Mathematics;

“That the policy of the National Standing Committee of the Federal Ministry of Education on foreign qualifications negates section 11 of the National Youth Service Corps Act CapN84, Laws of the Federation of 2004.

“The Act empowers the NYSC among other duties to issue a discharge certificate to every member that has successfully completed the one year mandatory service. However, in place of the discharge certificate an exemption certificate may be issued to those that graduated at age 31 years and above.

“That the policy stood in the way of the release of the exemption certificate to Sunday Akinwale; and That the policy of the National Standing Committee on candidates who had already obtained their first degrees with deficient entry qualifications should re-sit for the affected papers before being cleared for NYSC, was not backed by law and so, could not stand.”