By Bimbola Oyesola
The Port Harcourt Zone of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has warned that the rising insecurity in the zone if not checked and curtailed may have a devastating effect on the socio-economic well-being of the country.
According to Peter Chukwudi Onita, PENGASSAN Port Harcourt Zonal Chairman, the Zone which harbours some major oil and gas producing states in the country such as Rivers, Bayelsa, Imo, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Anambra, Enugu and Eboyi states are seriously under one form of security threats or the other, which the Association reckons is a bad call to any meaningful development, especially with the commencement of the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery valued at $1.5billion.
“The Zone also accounts for a large chunk of Nigeria’s oil and gas sector representing about 85 per cent of government revenues. The total revenue flow to the federation, other tiers of government and sub-national entities from all sources (including crude oil sales, taxes, royalties and other incomes) came to $32.6 billion in 2018,” he noted.
He reasoned that as the Zone with the resources, PENGASSAN is warning that the current state of affairs in kidnapping for ransom, attacks on security agencies especially the Nigeria Police and the rise of militia and ragtag armies if allowed to persist may have dire consequences and threats to food and economic security as well as life of the citizens of not only the states under the Zone but to the entire nation.
He said, “Consequently, as the zone with the highest conglomerates and individual key players in the oil and gas sector, we demand that the states should be empowered with the necessary legislations that will enable them take charge .of security issues in their domain.