Reps C’ttee threaten sanctions for oil companies disobeying parliamentary invitations

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By Aaron Ossai

Worried by failure of some oil companies operating in the South South region of the country to obey invitations of the House of Representatives Committee investigating their implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility, the Committee has threatened such oil companies with severe sanctions.

Speaking at the resumed hearing of the Committee yesterday, the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Lilian Orogbu expressed displeasure over the attitude of some of the companies, saying they were being disrespectful to the National Assembly.

She regretted that some of the companies have been deliberately ignoring invitations from the Committee threatening that after three other invitations, the Committee will be left with no option than to invoke the powers or the parliament on the affected companies.

“We don’t know who you are. This Committee was formed to investigate petitions coming from those places where you operate, a series of petitions coming from your host communities. We are not here to witch-hunt anybody, not by any means.

“We are here to work together to see that your operations are carried out with all sense of responsibility and that those communities where you operate feel happy that they are also benefiting from these companies operating in their midst.

“We are all talking about building a new Nigeria while the Presidency is talking about Renewed Hope agenda. We need to give hope to our citizens.

“The Committee report will be prepared very soon and we won’t want your companies to be indicted. In the next few days, you are going to see me discussing the host community issues, the company issues and how these companies have been handling the host community issues. I am sure you won’t want your companies to be mentioned.

“If that does not mean anything to you, by the time we begin to invoke the powers of the National Assembly and the powers of the Constitution on your companies, I am sure you won’t like it.

“We are here to work with you and in the area where you are not meeting up, the Committee will advise you to do the needful and we will come on site to oversight what you are doing. But don’t make us look as if we are witch hunting you.

“I am optimistic that this investigation will be a catalyst for positive change in the South-South and a model for responsible corporate conduct throughout our nation Nigeria”, she stated.