Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has inaugurated a 45-member committee on Oil Producing Areas Community Relations in Badagry area of the state.
Ambode said the inauguration of the committee was aimed at preventing face-off between investors and host communities of oil producing areas often experienced in the country.
The inauguration comes after the state has officially joined the League of oil producing states in the country.
This followed the discovery of crude oil by an indigenous oil firm, Yinka Folawiyo Petroleum Company Limited.
Exploration and developmental activities in this field commenced since June 1991 and it officially became operational in 2016.
Ambode said: “Lagos, being the home of Nigeria’s most critical commercial activities and now an oil producing state, cannot afford to have any community unrests or disruption of the peace.
“It is imperative that our oil producing companies and their host communities enjoy a very warm and mutually beneficial relationship.”
He said that oil was the major source of revenue in Nigeria today and despite the huge benefits from its discovery, its exploration had brought some negative effects in the oil producing communities, subsequently affecting the whole nation.
“The exploration activities have been found to create serious environmental challenges affecting health, social and economic activities, sustainable development and ecological balance due to land degradation and air pollution among others.
“These activities among others have led to agitations from communities and youth groups, leading to disruption of exploration activities, pipeline vandalisation and in extreme cases kidnapping and violence,” he said.
Ambode noted that this had made it difficult to conduct the business of oil production smoothly and ensure that the relationship between the oil companies and their host communities remained cordial at all times.
This, he said, had also affected negotiations for compensation for land acquisition, damages and spills.
Ambode said that the committee was expected to interface between the host communities and the oil companies in Badagry.
“They are to coordinate a seamless implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility interventions planned for the Badagry oil producing areas by oil producing companies,” he said.
According to him, they will also coordinate community and development issues between the host communities, government and oil producing companies operating in Badagry.
Ambode said the government was committed to creating a conducive environment for all to thrive, especially in the budding oil industry.
“On our part, we will take proactive measures to prevent oil spillage, and where it happens, quickly move to clean it up according to globally accepted standards.
“We will also ensure the safety and security of our communities and operators at all times,” he said.
Ambode charged the committee to bring to bear their wealth of knowledge and experience to ensure cooperation and collaboration between the communities and the oil companies operating in Badagry.