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Ezekwesili condemns discretionary award of oil blocks

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Dr Oby Ezekwesili

Former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, has denounced discretionary allocation of oil blocks in the country, saying it gives rise to massive corruption in the sector.

She said proper policies need to be put in place in the oil and gas sector to avoid political sentiments in the award of oil blocks in the country. Ezekwesili, who spoke yesterday at the Oil & Gas Trainers Association of Nigeria (OGTAN) national educational summit in Lagos, emphasised the need for the Federal Government to development human capital, saying that the continuous dependence on oil and gas will not take Nigeria to its anticipated state of development.

She said no matter what quantity of oil and gas deposit in Nigeria without developing human capacity and local content, the country might as well be heading for a collapse.Also, Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, represented by Managing Director of Nigerian Engineering and Technology Company (NETCO), Mr. Siky Aliyu, urged for collaboration between academia and the industry on researches to attract investments into the country.

“Researches must be prioritised to keep up with the developmental changes in the world,” he said.He added that developmental frameworks that will address stumbling blocks to investments should also be put in place.

The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board’s (NCDMB) Executive Secretary, Simbi Wabote, said that with the enabling framework backed with the right legislative push, Nigeria’s economy would be heading towards meeting up with international standard.According to him, structures that will encourage capacity building, research and development, provide finding and incentives should be put in place to encourage local development.

He added that the board is preparing to launch a research and development fund where academia and industry practitioners will be funded to carry out researches for development of the economy.“Access to the fund will be on an international standard. And those researches will not end on paper but will lead to collaboration between academia and industry experts,” he said.

OGTAN’s President, Dr. Afe Mayowa in his address, said the body is working on a couple of projects to encourage researches between oil and gas practitioners and academia.He listed some of the projects to include categorisation of member-companies in line with international standard, issuance of guidelines for standardisation of training establishment of National Occupation Standard (NOS) in conjunction with the NCDMB, fostering collaboration between regulatory bodies, academia and the oil and gas industry to help close gap between the university theory and the practical of the oil and gas industry, and others.



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