From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
A section of the host communities from the oil-producing areas in Nigeria yesterday accepted the three per cent approved by the Federal Government, saying the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) will enable them control over N300 billion a year.
But this is against the 10 per cent of total oil production which Edwin Clark and his group are asking for.
Speaking yesterday, in Abuja, Prince Mike Emuh and his group hailed the approval of three per cent saying that the oil communities must start from somewhere and graduate to something higher.
“For over 50 years now the host communities are yet to get N1 billion in a year. But 3 per cent has now been approved to the community and about N300 billion will be controlled by the host communities in a year. The issue is that who is going to manage the fund to bring about transformation and development of the Niger Delta? Where is the result of 13 per cent derivation? I want to assure Nigerians that with what Mr president and the ninth assembly have done, the people of Niger Delta will give this country a good result.
“We are going to have a semi-Dubai or a semi-London in the Niger Delta.
It is an indubitable fact that out of the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria, the most peaceful zone is the Niger Delta. This is the Niger Delta that lays the golden egg. It produces 90 per cent of the economy of this country.
“For the beginning we accept 3 per cent. As time goes on we will agitate for upward review. But we must start from somewhere. So, we appreciate what is happening and we call on others in the Niger Delta to join us to support Mr President, support the Federal Government, support the ninth assembly so that they can do more for the host communities. So, we are asking for the pipeline surveillance for the release of the money to the host communities. We are still asking for 13 per cent derivation based on the amended constitution that 13 per cent is on the legislative list. So we are asking Mr President to do more by giving us the 13 per cent derivation. We are not playing politics. We are not playing pranks. We are very sincere and we are genuine” he said.
The group, under the aegis of Host Communities of Nigeria (HOSCON) has representatives from Akwa Ibom, Abia, Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Ondo, Lagos and Imo states.
Recall that, a Niger Delta leader, Edwin Clark, lambasted Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, federal lawmakers and the North over the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
On July 1, the Senate passed the long-awaited bill after the approval of recommendations of the report of the Joint Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Petroleum (Upstream) and Gas.
In an open letter, Clark claimed that the bill failed to thoroughly proffer solutions or address the demands of the South-South people.
“It is satanic, unjust, embarrassing”, Clark who worked for Military Governor, Samuel Ogbemudia and Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, said.
The Ijaw leader flayed the allocation of 30 per cent of profits to the frontier exploration of oil in the North adding that what all well-meaning Nigerians wanted for oil-bearing communities in the Niger Delta region was a minimum of 10 per cent equity participation.
“But you Mr. Senate President, the Right Honourable Speaker and some of your colleagues in the National Assembly have further shown your disdain for the Niger Delta
“The people of the Niger Delta have had enough of this colonial and oppressive mentality of our Northern brothers and friends. Today, the north controls the oil sector, even though day-to-day operations are being handled by the International Oil Companies (IOCs) on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria.” he said.
Clark rubbished the 3 per cent and 5 per cent of operating expenditure granted to host communities, including the 30 per cent provision for Frontier Exploration Fund.
He, however, called for the review of the PIB to reflect nothing less than 10 per cent of operating cost for oil-bearing communities.