FG threatens to sanction expatriates over Train 7 gas project

By Desmond Ejibas

The Federal Government on Friday said it would sanction erring expatriates for failure to open operational bases in Bonny Island, Rivers, for the Train 7 Gas Project.

Mr Simbi Wabote, the Executive Secretary, Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) gave the warning at the formal opening of The Promise Fast Food and Restaurant in Bonny, Rivers.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Train 7 Project is a joint venture consortium that seeks to boost Nigeria’s Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) output to 30 million tons per annum (mtpa) from 22 million mtpa.

Nigeria’s LNG, Italy’s Saipem, Japan’s Chiyoda Corporation and South Korea’s Daewoo had raised an estimated N6 billion dollars to expand the country’s LNG to Train 7.

But Wabote said that some of the sub-contractors participating in the Train 7 Project had refused to open their offices in Bonny, thereby, denying the youth jobs.

“So, as we prepare to usher in the Train 7 Project, there are a lot of companies that have business in Bonny that do not have offices in Bonny.

“We have built NLNG Train 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, and when you ask those companies about their office location, you will discover that the majority of them are not in Bonny.

“Rather, they prefer to operate from Italy and Dubai while importing items into Bonny Island. Whenever NCDMB resist such attempts, the contractors go on a blackmail spree.’’

Wabote said that the Federal Government was now fully prepared to deal with the expatriates over their unfriendly and exploitative business practices in the nation’s gas project.

“The blackmail tactics are particularly done by some unscrupulous Italian contractors, who think that the only way to participate in the Train 7 Project is to blackmail NCDMB.

“But be rest assured that as long as I remain the Executive Secretary of NDCMB, we will checkmate them (contractors) this time around the Train 7 is coming.

“We will continue to push for the establishment of more operational bases of all the companies that are coming to participate in the Train 7 Project in Bonny,” he assured.

The executive secretary said that NCDMB had approved a local content plan that had only been adhered to by its main consortium firms of Saipem, Chiyoda and Daewoo.

Wabote commended the President of The Promise, Oluwatoyin Alabi for his massive investment in Bonny aimed to feed and cater for the more than 10,000 workers that are expected to work in the Train 7 Project.

He urged other catering service providers to emulate the ‘excellent strides’ of The Promise and invest in the Island – in preparation for the takeoff of the Train 7 Project.

Earlier, Alabi, President of Integrated Catering Company Limited, owner of The Promise, said the company had more than 600 Nigerians working in its 25 outlets in the many states it operates.

“In addition, we have already recruited more than 50 youths with 95 per cent of them indigenes of Bonny to work in our Bonny outlet as part of our job creation drive,” he added. (NAN)

•PHOTO: NCDMB Executive Secretary Simbi Wabote