By Bassey Williams, Yenagoa
The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Wabote has stated that the board has no plans to relocate its headquarters from Yenagoa, Bayelsa State to Abuja or Lagos, as being insinuated in some quarters.
The Executive Secretary who received a delegation of the IYC World Wide, led by its President, Mr. Pereotubo Oweillami, at the Board’s Headquarters dismissed the insinuation, describing it as “wild rumours and figments of some persons’ imaginations.”
He explained that the Board’s new corporate headquarters was nearing completion. “Our 17storey headquarters building project in Yenagoa has got to the 12th flour. It might end up being the tallest structure in the whole of the South-South and South-East when it is completed in 2018. How can we leave such a building and move to Abuja or Lagos?”
He added that the Board established liaison and zonal offices in key cities and oil producing states for operational efficiency, just like other federal agencies and state governments. “NCDMB is a federal institution and has stakeholders across the country and we need those offices to transact business effectively.”
Responding to the request by the IYC President for training and employment opportunities, Wabote promised that the Board will train youths from Ijaw extraction and other Niger Delta tribes in leadership and specialised skills, with a view to making them self-reliant.
He explained that employment opportunities in the oil and gas industry were limited, hence the need to train youths in other sectors of the economy like agriculture and construction.
“The Federal Government is pushing actively for the diversification of the economy so that people can be employed in other areas. So do not just ask for training in the oil and gas industry but also in other sectors.”
The Executive Secretary stressed that the Board’s trainings were informed by gap analysis, which reveal skills and capacities needed by the oil and gas industry.
He stated further that 60 percent of the Board’s training budget and efforts are now dedicated to providing beneficiaries with specialised skills and international certifications that will guarantee them employment in Nigeria and beyond.
The Chief scribe noted that 20 percent is applied to enhancing the skills of personnel who are already employed while 20 percent is used to provide general trainings and soft skills to beneficiaries.
He also challenged the IYC national leadership to manage their zonal organs and curtail their overbearing tendencies.
On request by the youth group for the Board to convert drivers, security guards and janitorial personnel to permanent staff, Wabote explained that the standard practice was for organisations to source such personnel from manpower providers, adding that the Board’s was complaint with Federal Government’s policies.
It will be recalled that the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) central zone disrupted the operations of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in its Yenagoa headquarters over the none relocation of international oil companies (IOC) to Bayelsa State.
Led by its Chairman, Comrade (Barr) Tari Pori, the youths numbering over one thousand forced their way into the premises of the headquarters of the Board located along Isaac Boro Express Road, Opolo in Yenagoa through a pulled down fence as workers scampered into different directions. While explaining the reason for he protest to the content board, the IYC central zone chairman said the Board has no right to open liaison offices in Abuja and Lagos and ordered for their immediate closure as it has contravened the section seventy one paragraph three of the NAGOUD Act which prohibits the establishment of Content Board officers outside the oil producing areas.
According to the chairman the Pioneer Executive Secretary of the Board, Engineer Ernest Nwakpa operated from Yenagoa where the impact of the Board was felt by the people of the region but when an indigene of the state Hon. Kentebe was appointed by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the opened the liaison offices in Abuja and Lagos adding that when the IYC confronted him then over the matter, he promised them that the offices would be closed down but since them nothing was done about it.
The chairman who said the IYC has the right to make demands and take steps to actualize the demands said the IYC central zone actually approached the management of the Content Board on the issue of the relocation of international oil companies headquarters to their areas of operation as directed by the Vice-President Barr Yemi Osinbajo, when he visited the Niger Delta region and in stead of the Executive Secretary to invite them for a round-table discussion, he invited the IYC National President for discussion while the IYC Central Zone members were tagged as robbers, rogues and brigands and they had no other option than grievances. He condemned the approach of the Executive Secretary’s action while accusing him of using a divide and rule system. Meanwhile some Bayelsans have condemned the action of the IYC Central Zone claiming tthat dialogue should have been the best option as their action would further scare investors from the region.
A lawyer who spoke under anonymity said the same section seventy-one paragraph three of the NAGOCID Act states that the Board may establish other offices if the need arises.