OrderPaperToday – President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, offered a lifeline to the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) by parrying a recommendation for the senate to order payment of N18billion compensation to 73 communities for lands acquired by the company.

This was sequel to the consideration of the report on a petition received from one Chief Enyinna Onuegbu on behalf of the communities located in Obiafu, Soku to Bonny by the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions.Instead of asking the NLNG to pay the compensation as recommended by the Committee, the Senate gave a one-week ultimatum to the NLNG to appear before the panel or face the consequences of failing to do so.

The Senate, while considering the petition, stepped it down midway pending the outcome of the summons on NLNG.

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A report by the committee stated that the livelihood of 73 communities and 200 families were negatively impacted by the company’s refusal to pay compensation.

Chairman of the  Committee, Senator Ayo Akinyelure (PDP, Ondo Central), in his presentation, said that, “following the incorporation of NLNG, it acquired landed properties in Rivers State in 1996 spanning over 210 kiln for use as its pipelines Right of Way (ROW) which ended at the export terminal of the NLNG in Finima Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State.

“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 NLNG neither proved nor showed evidence to the committee that it paid compensation to the 73 Communities for loss of use of their land to pipelines Right of Way (ROW); 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.

“That there was evidence that other oil companies such as Shell Petroleum Development Company, Totalfina Elf Petroleum Nigeria Ltd, Agip oil Corporation paid compensation for loss of use of land to their Host communities; and that the communities were claiming the sum of N18,448,842,500.00 being compensation for the loss of use of their land as at May, 2020.”

The Senate President, while issuing the ultimatum, said that NLNG should be given one more chance by the Senate itself, instead of just saying NLNG should go and pay 18 billion and at the end of the day nothing happens.

“I am sure NLNG is listening (and) should appear within one week before our Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions with their evidence of compensation. If they fail, then the Senate will take a decision on NLNG in this respect.”

OrderPaper Nigeria reports that the House of Representatives had also probed the premier gas export company over host community compensation claims last year.

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