Over the months, the National Assembly has, through its ad hoc committees investigating alleged fraudulent acts with the National Housing Fund and other probes, summoned member companies. The Organised Private Sector of Nigeria has complained about the incessant invitations and summons, hence the decline.

Lilian Orogbu, the representative of the Awka North and South Federal Constituency and the chairman of the House of Representatives Committee shared during the hearing in the National Assembly Complex, Abuja, yesterday.

She said, “This committee was formed to investigate petitions coming from those places where you operate. A series of petitions are coming from your host communities. We are not here to witch-hunt anybody.

Our goal is to collaborate with you to ensure that your business activities are conducted responsibly and that the communities in which you operate are pleased that these businesses are present and benefit them as well.

“We are all talking about building a new Nigeria. While the Presidency is talking about a 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, we will be discussing host community issues, company issues, and how these companies have been handling host community issues. I am sure you won’t want your companies to be mentioned.”

In further stating, “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, but don’t make us look as if we are witch-hunting you.

“But if we find out that your company has become a troublesome company to this committee, we will use all our powers to fight back. So please, we would want you to conduct yourself in the most appropriate manner expected of companies of your repute”.

“It is an incontrovertible fact in Nigeria that the South-South region is the lifeblood of our nation’s economy and is rich in natural resources and brimming potential.

“However, alongside this bounty comes responsibility, a responsibility for corporate bodies to ensure their operations contribute positively to the socio-economic and environmental well-being of this region in line with the Petroleum Industry Act 2021.

“I urge all participating companies to approach this process transparently and commit to the nation. We want to work with you, not against you, to create a win-win situation where businesses flourish along thriving and empowered communities.”



By Chidimma NWAFOR

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