Leaders of HOSTCOM threatening our staff, propagating falsehood to mislead public, gain sympathy–NCDMB

Yenagoa—Management of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), has reiterated its opposition to the continued protests by members of the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM) on its premises, in Yenagoa.

The board revealed that despite several interventions by stakeholders and even Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State, members of HOSTCOM have continued to stage violent protests that have disrupted its operations for two weeks.

In a statement signed by Engr. Ginah O. Ginah, general manager corporate communications/zonal coordination, the NCDMB debunked claims by the HOSTCOM, saying it is aimed at misleading the public to gain sympathy.

According to the NCDMB, the NOGICD Act that governs the board mandates it to develop local capacities, capabilities, monitor compliance, enforce provisions of the act and not operate as an interventionist agency.

The board hinted that it is not mandated to grant every request from the HOSTCOM in Bayelsa State.

It also revealed that other states in the Niger Delta region are accusing the board of bias in favour of Bayelsa State.

“That the sticking point in the ongoing disturbance is that HOSTCOM requested the Board to train 1000 persons and submitted the names to the Board, expecting the Board to accept their list without question.

“That the Board turned down the bogus list as there is no budget to accommodate such an unreasonable demand. Contrary to HOSTCOM’s false assertion, the Board did not at any time agree to train 1000 persons submitted by HOSTCOM.

“That HOSTCOM now wants to compel the Board to train the 1000 persons they submitted to the Board without regard to the Board’s training plan and budget, particularly because the leaders of HOSTCOM had allegedly extorted various sums of money from each of the nominees,” the statement reads.

The board also revealed that “Realizing that the nominees they have extorted money from would vent their anger on them, the HOSTCOM leaders became restive and took to the street in a desperate move to arm-twist the Board to give into their inordinate demand and to cover their act.

“That leaders of HOSTCOM have threatened the lives of some NCDMB personnel and their families over this impasse and the threats have been duly reported to the relevant security agencies for thorough investigation.

“It is important to mention that under the leadership of Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote the Board has continued to afford many Bayelsa youths training in various skills sets, especially in high impact areas of the oil and gas industry and linkage sectors that positions the beneficiaries for employment or self-reliance.

“That by our training records, the people of Bayelsa are the highest beneficiaries of the Board’s Human Capital Development Program.

“That even our 2020 training of 243 people conducted in partnership with Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Bayelsans benefited the most; there is yet another upcoming training that the Board is working with the ITF, which would incorporate nominees from the list submitted by the HOSTCOM Group.” 

According to the statement, “It should be borne in mind that NCDMB is a federal agency and that our activities and programs must impact every part of the country.

“Thus, the Board did partner with sister agencies in the Oil and Gas Industry to train some internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the North East in certain crafts under the Federal Government’s Policy for rebuilding the North East Region which was ravaged by insurgency.

“It is this training that Hostcom is mischievously referring to and demanding same for its members without carrying out background checks on the number of MDAs that delivered the alleged GSM and crafts training in some of the northern states.

“It is on record that most of the Board’s critical projects, programmes, and partnerships have been deliberately sited in Bayelsa State as part of the Board’s strategy to industrialize the state and create employment opportunities for the indigenes.

“Similarly, many of the vendors engaged by the Board in the ongoing projects are Bayelsa indigenes.

The board listed the following as some of the projects it has executed in Bayelsa State since its establishment:

“Nigerian Content Tower – the tallest and most sophisticated building in the South-South and South-East parts of Nigeria; Trained 250 Bayelsans on various artisanal skills; Engaged trained youths in the construction of the Head Quarters building; and Engaged Bayelsa in supplies in the head office building project.

“Ultra-modern town hall built for the Swali Community.

“Engagement of over 200 youths, mostly from Swali Community in the maintenance of the Nigerian Content Head Quarters Building and support services.

“Provision of uninterrupted power supply to key offices of the Bayelsa State Government.

“Training of 1,000 science and mathematics teachers across Bayelsa State.

“Construction and equipping of several ICT & Science Laboratories across the state; Renovated classrooms.

NCDMB also disclosed that it has been sponsoring the Annual Science Quiz for Secondary Schools in Bayelsa since 2013 and also trained 50 physically challenged youths on artisanal skills with starter packs and take-off grants.

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