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Chief Kayode Odunaro

The Senate through its Local Content Committee has frowned at the practice of foreign companies operating in Nigeria flouting the laws on local content as enshrined in the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act of 2010 thereby denying Nigerians employment as well as leading to massive capital flight.

Senator Solomon Adeola (Lagos West) , the chairman of the Senate Local Content Committee while addressing Mr. Joan Mikhail, the Managing Director of Delattre Bezons Nigeria Limited and his management team during an interactive session expressed worry that many foreign companies operating in Nigeria over the years have serially abuse the expatriate quota in their employment practices leading to a situation where they are unable or reluctant to provide information on their operations in Nigeria in relations to employment and contract awards adding that it is regrettable that in this illegality many Nigerians serves as willing collaborators.

This is coming a day after the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki lamented the figure of over 30 million unemployed youths among Nigerian during a public hearing on unemployment in Nigeria.

The Senate committee had written to Delattre Bezons Nigeria Limited among other similar firms three weeks ago requesting information on its application for expatriate quota, evidence of Nigerians employed and trained on projects executed by the company in the oil and gas sector as well as evidence of contract awards to indigenous companies and contractors in compliance with Local Content Act but regrettably the company has turned up without information on these subjects as well as evidence of taxes paid by its expatriate staff over the years.

Senator Adeola therefore ordered the company to produce the information by Thursday failing which the company risk sanctions including blacklisting of the firm from all operations in the Nigeria oil and gas industry.

Earlier on Senator Godswill Akpabio, the minority leader of the Senate and vice chairman of the committee decried attitude of foreign companies bringing in hoard of expatriates when they come to do business in Nigeria stressing that most of these jobs could be effectively done by local labour and thereby avert the situation of our youth travelling out into the desert to suffer and sometimes die in the process.

The minority leader of the Senate warned that henceforth companies must take the issue of Local Content serious in their operations as the Senate is poised to ensure that laws of the land are not flagrantly flouted by foreigners and their companies.

Other members of the committee that equally frowned at the practices of foreign companies operating in Nigeria without recourse to adherence to our Local Content Act include Senator Binta Masi Garba, Senator Albert Akpan, Senator Gershon Bassey and Senator Tayo Alasoadura.

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