From: Samuel Bello, Abuja
Oil producing communities, under the platform of Host Communities of Nigeria, Producing Oil and Gas (HOSCON), have called on the Federal Government to release the approved N98 billion gas flare penalty.
Addressing newsmen, in Abuja, on Tuesday, the National Chairman of HOSCON, Mr. Mike Emuh, said the release had been over-delayed.
Explaining the exigency of the payment, Emuh said: “The host community ought to be paid as a result of industrial confusion, acidic rain and health hazards. This is a gross misplacement of priority, the funds should be given to the host communities that suffered the pains of gas flaring in Nigeria”.
He also urged the National Assembly, especially members from the Niger Delta region to ensure the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) before the end of the year, so that 13 per cent equity would be released to the host communities.
“Nigerians are good at making policies but we are far at implementing them and we all still have to face the fact that it is the only law that can favour the whole community.”
Emuh also clamoured for a direct allocation of 13 per cent derivation funds to the oil and gas bearing communities through developmental agencies that should be monitored by the Government.
“We are tired of state governments’ misapplication of our God given resources. If APC wants to win 2019 election and you leave 13 per cent derivation in the hands of PDP government, that means we have no money. We need to remove the money and give it to the host communities and let them decide who they would give their vote for”, Emuh advised.
The chairman further urged the government to provide employment to the 10,000 youths trained on pipeline vandalism and security matters, adding that they could be employed as informants to work with the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) on oil theft.
“Let it not be like the case of the amnesty programme where you train youths without plans of employment,” he said.