The House of Representatives on Thursday concluded legislative efforts towards the establishment of a National Institute of Oil and Gas Technology and Entrepreneurial Studies, Egbema in Imo State, South-East Nigeria.
The Bill which passed the third reading on the floor of the House on Thursday is sponsored by Hon. Uju Kingsley Chima representing Ohaji/Egbema/Oguta/Oru West Federal Constituency of Imo State.
The bill is titled: a ‘Bill for an Act to Establish the Institute of Oil and Gas Technology and Entrepreneurial Studies, Egbema, Imo State and to Make Comprehensive Provisions for Due Management and Administration, Provide for Detailed Identification of Areas in Oil and Gas Technology, Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurial Studies and for Related Matters’
Providing some background details which necessitated the idea behind the proposed Institution, the sponsor of the Bill, Hon. Chima argued that “the youths of oil-producing communities constitute the greatest challenge in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.”
He noted that Nigerian youths have been at the losing end of employment opportunities in the oil and gas sector to foreigners despite coming from communities where the resources are extracted with good education and environmental understanding.
“As a representative of the good people Ohaji/Egbema/Oguta/ Oru-West Federal Constituency of Imo State, the only Oil Producing federal constituency in Imo state, having realised that quality and accessible education of the youths of the region in the Oil and gas sectors, will go a long way to whittle down crimes in the Oil-rich Niger Delta region, engage most idle youths to be busy and most importantly empower them to participate in the development of the Oil and Gas Sectors.”
“It is sad but correct to assert that the Oil and Gas sectors in Nigeria have continued to rely on expatriates in some areas of the sector because Nigeria still lacks or is unable to provide adequate local manpower in those areas.
“Unfortunately, we are also aware that not all the areas of the Oil and Gas sectors require very high technical knowhow requiring essential university education.
“To our chagrin, some of the expatriates hired by the Oil companies are ordinary trained technicians without any formal university or polytechnic education. Unfortunately, these technicians arrive in Nigeria as foreign expatriates, raise payments in Dollars and even displace our university graduates; probably because Nigeria is unable to provide the needed basic technical training for our local manpower in Nigeria.”
He said the Bill was “borne out of the desire to identify those areas in the oil and gas sector, where Nigeria lacks or has insufficient domestic manpower and to ensure that the gaps are filled by providing the needed training for our graduates, skill acquisition for our non-graduates and entrepreneurial training for those identified to possess the requisite talents.”
“From the foregoing dear friends and colleagues, it can be seen that the Institute when established will capture and provide education and training for various categories of young persons, both for those with O’level that would desire to go for Ordinary Diploma (ND), Higher National Diploma (HND) for JAMB candidates and also provide Certificates Courses for those with less than the mandatory 4 or 5 credits requirement for JAMB.
“The Institute will be designed to be a more practical oriented Institution providing all training necessary in the Oil and Gas Industries. The idea is to boost and increase our local content supply and fill the gaps created in Nigeria by the lack of adequate local manpower.
“The Institute, being a federal Institution will provide education and training for all Nigerians alike; and for any persons from other works of life. It is not going to be a tuition-free institute. It is expected that state governments of the Oil producing states, the various local governments, and indeed all states of the federation would contribute to the training of their citizens through scholarships and grants and mitigate crimes and the burden on poor parents.
“It is expected that the Oil Companies, as part of the Corporate social responsibilities will also be sending experts in various fields to go and pass practical knowledge and training on students from time to time and most importantly sponsor youths from their host communities for training.
The essence of the above is to reduce the burden of funding on the federal government considering the nature of our country’s economy currently.
“I, therefore, sincerely appeal to all stakeholders to see with me the urgent need to pass this Bill, so as to serve its dream goals of providing massive local labour in the oil and gas sectors and to reduce unemployability, restiveness, illegal and criminal activities in the Niger Delta regions,” the lawmaker appealed.
Hon Chima having convinced the lawmakers was rewarded with overwhelming support through a voice vote as the presiding Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Idris Wase, put a question on every clause.
The document now awaits concurrence from the Senate for onward transmission to the President for his assent.