By Olugbenga Salami
Senate on Tuesday directed the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG Limited to pay N18.4 billion compensation to 73 communities from Obiafu, Soku to Bonny in Rivers State for acquiring their land and loss of use of the affected land to pipeline Rights of Way.
The company was given 60 days within which to make the payment to the affected communities.
The resolutions were adopted after the Senate considered the report of its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, chaired by Senator Ayo Akinyelure (APC Ondo Central) that investigated a petition by the communities.
Presenting the report, Senator Akinyelure said following its incorporation, the NLNG acquired landed properties in Rivers state spanning over 210 kilometres for use as its pipelines Right of Way which ended at the export terminal of the NLNG in Finima, Bonny Local Government of the state.
According to him, “that there were over 73 communities and over 200 families whose hitherto agrarian source of livelihood were negatively impacted upon by the said acquisition.
“That after the the recent intervention of the Senate and after being given one month instead of 7 days allowed by the Senate to provide evidence of payment to the Committee, the NLNG could only show evidence of payment to some individuals, families and communities.
“The total amount it paid for part of the 210 kilometres of land acquired for pipelines Rights of Way was N74,642,773.00 which is not significant when compared to the sum of N18.4 billion approximately demanded by the 73 communities and over 200 families, which has never been objected to by the NLNG up till now.
“That the payment made covered only 39 communities and 73 individuals and families; and that there was no Memorandum Of Understanding, MoU signed between the communities and NLNG on future obligations in the name of Corporate Social Responsibility with the impacted communities.
“There was evidence that other oil companies such as Shell Petroleum Development Company, Totalfina, Elf Petroleum, Agip Oil Company paid compensation for the loss of use of land to their host communities.
“NLNG confessed that, the payments were made long ago and could not reasonably trace most of the payments documents but promised look for further evidence to show that it paid stakeholders concerned if given another one month to enable do so.
“The committee considered their request unnecessary and unreasonably,having granted NLNG one month earlier instead of 7 days allowed by the Senate at plenary to conclude its report”, he said.