Akwa Ibom lawmaker, Aniekan Uko, has said that the frequent kidnapping of construction workers in the state may have been caused by “flagrant flouting of the extant laws and regulations applicable to (the) employment of indigenes by these companies.”
Mr Uko, a Peoples Democratic Party member representing Ibesikpo Asutan State Constituency, made the remarks on Tuesday during plenary at the Akwa Ibom House of Assembly when he moved a motion on “the need to consider the employment of indigenous youths by companies operating in Akwa Ibom State”.
The assembly presided over by the speaker, Aniekan Bassey, upheld Mr Uko’s motion and directed companies in the state to “adhere strictly” to employment laws and regulations in the state.
The house also urged relevant ministries to monitor “the extent of employment of local persons by companies operating in the state”.
Mr Uko said the motion was in line with Nigeria’s local content law and similar laws.
He made reference to a bill which was passed by the assembly in 2018 which sought to compel companies in the state to hire Akwa Ibom indigenes. The bill was, however, not signed into law by the state governor, Udom Emmanuel.
“Recalls that the 6th Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, in consideration of the plight of host communities in the hands of companies operating in the State, passed into law, a bill which sought to ensure that companies doing business in the State hire at least 10 per cent of their senior workers and 70 per cent of junior workers from among the indigenes of the State.
“Further recalls that in the aforementioned bill, it was stated that where the quota for indigenes of the State was not filled on account of non-availability of qualified indigenes of the State, the company shall ensure that a reasonable effort was made within two years to supply such training locally or elsewhere to the indigenes of the State, in a joint venture Ministry in charge, so that after the training, the beneficiaries could be absorbed by the said company,” Mr Uko said.
Akwa Ibom is said to be among the states with the highest unemployment rates in Nigeria, despite being one of the richest in the country.
The state is home to Mobil Producing Nigeria, a subsidiary of the American oil giant, ExxonMobil, as well as several oil-related companies doing business in the state.
Several construction companies have moved into the state in the past 10 years because of road construction and urban renewal projects of the state government.
It is, however, unclear how the latest motion passed by the assembly would help in job creation in the state.
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