Chief Style Benjamin, National Chairman of Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM) on Sunday dissociated the group from ongoing fraudulent jobs and contract scams in Bayelsa.
Benjamin said in Yenagoa that fraudulent people were using the name HOSTCOM to defraud unsuspecting people in Bayelsa and across the Niger Delta region.
The HOSTCOM leader said that its findings indicate that at least 3,000 victims have lost N70,000 each to the scam in the creeks.
He said that the efforts of the leadership of HOSTcOM to arrest the trend were yielding fruits as three persons were already being prosecuted for allegedly obtaining money from Bayelsa people under false pretence. .
He said that the fraudsters h posed as representatives of HOSTCOM promised thei victims of facilitating training and giving them pipeline security surveillance jobs.
“Mr Ikiobofa Amasamana, Timila Arthure and Osain James all males are currently standing trial at the Bayelsa State Magistrate Court for allegedly using the platform of HOSTCOM) to obtain money from people.
“These set of persons including Mike Emu from Delta State had been collecting money and defrauding people in Bayelsa job for nonexistent oil pipeline security surveillance contract jobs.
“Each Bayelsa victim caught in the web of fraud say they paid around between N68,000 to N70,000 and they run into thousands of unsuspecting members of the public from oi communities.
“They were told that they will be given a pipeline surveillance security job that they will be paid N350,000 monthly.
“During Police investigation, th imposters were asked to present original certificate of incorporation of the company and the certificate of incorporation of HOSTCOM, they couldn’t present them.
“They said they were collecting the money in anticipation. They said they will train and any time the government gives them the contract they will give them the job.
“In Bayelsa alone, about 3000 persons have paid and they are going out sowing paramilitary uniforms for their victims and using same to lure more unsuspecting people in the rural areas,” Benjamin said.
He regretted that the activities of the fraudsters, if not checked could lead to sabotage of oil facilities when the thousands of defrauded people within the host communities realise that they have been defrauded.
He however said that there would be ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ as the leadership of HOSTCOM, Federal Government, and oil firms had reached concerete arrangements of the proposed 10 per cent equity for host communities.
According to Benjamin, the Federal Government was working to raise the 10% equity for the host communities proposed by the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB).