As part of efforts to ensure that relevant segments including women, youths, traditional rulers and other stakeholders in oil-producing areas of the State support firms operating in their environment, the Lagos State Government today revealed that it is aggressively working on the promotion of a bill to institutionalise the establishment of Lagos State Oil Producing Areas Community Development Committee.
Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Olalere Odusote disclosed this during the Lagos State Oil Producing Areas Community Relations Committee Engagement Forum held in Badagry.
According to Odusote, the ratification of the Bill and the introduction of a Lagos State Oil Producing Areas Community Relations (Omnibus) Bill, along with other ongoing regulatory, judicial and State reforms will make the State become a top Community Engagement Standards Compliant entity.
The Commissioner said the bill was aimed at institutionalising the collaborative social responsibility effort that was put in place to ensure that all stakeholders including women, youths, traditional rulers, government officials, and operating company representatives have a platform to advise the government on different issues relevant to unhindered operations in the oil-producing areas.
While assuring that indigenes will enjoy employment benefits from the relevant companies operating within the communities, Odusote also promised to encourage oil companies to engage in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) intervention projects for the benefit of host communities which, according to him, will empower skilled and unskilled women and youths in the host communities.
He also assured stakeholders that the Badagry Youth Conference will hold as scheduled saying, “We have obtained the necessary approvals from Mr. Governor for the conference to hold. In the next few weeks, the Ministry will announce the modalities for the Conference. He commended the efforts of traditional rulers who have been at the forefront of ensuring the success of the committee due to their dedication, commitment, unity of purpose and loyalty to the cause of developing their communities and the State.
Vice-Chairman of the Committee, Rtd. Justice Solomon Hunponu-Wusu said the committee will execute its responsibilities with all the seriousness it deserves, while also providing an enabling environment for businesses to thrive in the area.
Hunponu-Wusu urged Government to scale up intervention in mineral-rich communities through active and meaningful engagement in order to show sincerity about addressing the infrastructural deficit of the area.
Also speaking at the forum, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. AbdulHamed Mustapha, said government will not relent in its continued efforts to ensure that adequate oversight is provided on the process and manner in which communities provide consent, participate in and agree with environmental and social impact assessments, negotiate community development agreements and monitor their full implementation.
Mustapha called on the community leaders to be fair and just for the benefit of the people, the youths and the State, urging them to work in a transparent manner with government, businesses, and civil society organisations, in order to achieve sustainable development for their communities.
The event was also attended by the Commissioner of Housing, Mr. Moruf Akinderu, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Arts and Culture, Mr. Solomon Bonu, the youth leader in Badagry Central, Dr. Olanrewaju Onala and other eminent personalities of the historic town of Badagry.