Oil and Gas Producing Host Communities in Nigeria (HOSTCOM) has urged the National Assembly to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) on 10 per cent equity and other versions to improve the lives of people in the Niger Delta region.
The National Chairman of HOSTCOM, Dr. Mike Emuh, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday that it was crucial to pass the bill on 10 per cent equity for HOSTCOM and also implement relevant laws on gas flaring, due to the plight of the communities over the years.
Emuh, also a board member of Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project on Ogoni clean-up, said the approval would further pacify the host communities and address decades of injustice and marginalisation of the people.
“The PIB is nine years old, now why is it not being implemented? The 10 per cent equity for the oil producing host communities was proposed as an executive bill by the late President Umaru Yar ‘Adua, why is it that it is not being passed into law?
“The International Oil Companies (IOCs) and the National Oil Company (NOC) members of the National Assembly should come to the rescue of the host communities.
“ We implore members of the National Assembly to pass at least one bill in favour of the host communities; we have patiently waited and we will not take it for granted.
He said that the earlier 13 per cent derivation was diverted to the state governments against the provision of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“There is no law that says that 13 per cent should be given to state governments and local governments; now the local governments are going to be autonomous, so what happens to the money,“ he said.
He advocated the setting up of committee by the Federal Government to manage the 13 per cent for the benefit of the oil producing host communities.
Emuh also advocated the allocation of oil blocks and licences for the establishment of modular refineries to HOSTCOM.
“It is quite unfortunate that the Niger-Delta as a whole does not have oil block and they are the owners of the oil.”
We are not impressed with the fact that the south-south monarchs, none of them owns an oil block.
“ That we members of the board of trustees and national executive of the host community, nobody owns an oil block, neither the title to lift oil, nor any entitlement for refined product purchase.
“In the past governments, we were totally denied, but I think that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is now looking in to that issue.
“I think the minster of petroleum and the acting president are looking at these issues of the denial of divinely endowed prerogatives of the Niger Deltans.”
He said that the HOSTCOM had entered into a memorandum for the establishment of modular refineries and mechanised agriculture in the region with some foreign technical partners from the UK, Italy and other countries.
This, he said, would also create jobs for the teeming unemployed youths in the region.