Minister of State for Petroleum, Timpere Sylva, has explained why the Steering Committee of the proposed National Petroleum Ltd is dominated by men.
Some observers have complained that the composition is not gender sensitive but Sylva said the males on the committee were representing offices not their individual selves.
Speaking on the matter on Thursday, he said, “Let us not over flog this situation because when you say you are nominating, it is offices that are represented.
“I represent the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, and then the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, there is no way because of gender equality I am going to look for somebody else to be here apart from the permanent secretary.
“When I say the Executive Secretary Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) is the secretariat, there is no way I can go and change the ES PTDF.
“If I say the GMD NNPC is to be a member, we cannot look for a South-South GMD or a South-East GMD.”
He assured that the issues of equity with respect to states would be considered, and that they were some of the issues the PIA would correct; transparency and inclusiveness.
“Just like in the Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG), the Federal Government will hold the equity in NNPC Ltd. in trust for the three tiers of government.
“You must agree that in this country there is a Federal Government of Nigeria and there is a federation. The Federal Government of Nigeria can always hold something in trust for the federation.
“I can assure you that we are already discussing and we are clarifying some of these issues. In this case, what the Federal Government is doing is to hold the equity in trust for the federation,” he said.
The minister also said the Federal Government was in talks with the governors, and that there was no need for any controversy on the issue.
On gender balance in the PIA Steering Committee, he said selections were made based on different offices involved.
He assured that effort would be made to incorporate more women, adding that the implementation working group would be more diverse and inclusive.
On the three per cent host community fund, he said those agitating on it were politicians as most respected Niger Delta leaders were yet to speak against it.
He expressed confidence that there would be no unrest in the region concerning the host community fund.
“Frankly I don’t know why there would be unrest in the Niger Delta. I know that there are a lot of politicians who have taken this as a political issue and they are politicising it but I have not heard the leaders of the Niger Delta that I respect kick against this.
“I see a lot of politicking around this issue but I have not really seen very senior Niger Delta people that we all respect that are apolitical speak about this.
“Let us wait and see what this money will do,” he said
He further assured that the government would have no role in the management of the fund as it would be determined by the operating companies and the communities