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National Engineering and Technical Company Limited (NETCO) in conjunction with MORPOL and NGC recently organised an Oil Pipeline License (OPL) Public Hearing on the NGC Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Contract for Gas Supply to Ogijo customers at the office of the Deputy Director General,(DDG) Land Services (Acquisitions) of the Ogun State Bureau of Lands and Survey.

In attendance alongside NETCO, MORPOL, NGC and DPR representatives were the Baales of Amere, Otuyelu, Gbodomo, Gbara as well as youth leaders, men and women of the communities whose farm lands, buildings and other properties are likely to be affected by the project's Right of Way (ROW) upon commencement.

The Deputy Director General of Ogun State Bureau of Lands and Survey, Mr. Isaac Akogun, speaking at the hearing welcomed all and expressed his delight that all parties concerned were present, stating that His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun upon notification of NGC's application for land acquisition for the project has promptly given his approval adding that a formal approval letter is being prepared to be issued to NGC.

According to him, the public hearing was initiated to afford all parties concerned to air their view, opinion, observation and concerns as it affects them during and after the projects

The Project Leader for NGC, Mr. Audu Ibrahim said the purpose of the public hearing was to fulfil the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources' statutory requirement for the acquisition of Right of Way for Pipeline Construction within the Federal Republic of Nigeria with adequate compensation.

Chief Tajudeen Oremuyiwa, the Baale of Amore/Otuyelu speaking on behalf of the communities stated that the project is a welcome development which will benefit the communities affected. He, however, emphasized that aside monetary compensation, the consortium is expected to make infra- structural development a must; provision of access road, bore-hole, town-hall, electricity, school should be considered as either of these will be a legacy for the community and its future generation.

Speaking on behalf of the youths of Gbodomo community, its leader, Mr. Olalekan Salu said employment for youths should also be considered. 'We want to be part of the project' he reiterated.

In his response, Mr.Audu Ibrahim reaffirmed that NGC as an organization is committed to Community Social Responsibility, stating that unskilled labour will be sourced from the community while skilled labour applications if screened and found to be qualified will also be considered. Adding that NNPC as a parent company seeks for the best and most importantly experienced hands who will maintain the Corporations' quality assurance policy.

He described NGC as a responsible organisation and promised to communicate the community's requests to NGC Management.

Mr. Ibrahim said NGC does not pay compensation to the community but to the direct owner of an affected property who must be vetted and identified by the Baale of the community as the true and rightful owner to ensure transparency and integrity.

For clearer understanding and transparency, the Deputy Director General of the Bureau asked if the communities present were satisfied with the explanations given and they all responded positively and he subsequently gave a go ahead for the commencement of the project.

The DPR representative, Mr. Christopher Opara, said he was satisfied that both parties reached an agreement on the project adding that the presence of DPR at the public hearing was to ensure that all parties especially the communities affected are satisfied and that they all agree to the execution of the project.

Chief Tajudeen Oremuyiwa requested that a communiqué be prepared for all the Baales to append their signatures to, in order to avoid any unexpected future denials about the project and its attendant benefits to the community’s issues, or 'I wasn't there', 'I wasn't aware' etc. that might arise.

Thereafter the DDG brought the meeting to a close with a promise to accelerate all necessary documentation or requests as applicable.