By Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Oil-bearing communities drawn from the 10 oil and gas producing states and seven impacted areas yesterday demanded a Presidential Derivation Commission to effectively manage the 13 per cent accruing to the states every month.
The fresh call, it was gathered, might not be unconnected with the perceived mismanagement of the funds which are currently directly under the control of the respective state governors.
Many communities where these oil revenues are drawn; in many cases do not have basic amenities while their sources of livelihood, including fishing and farming, have been destroyed in the process of exploiting the raw material.
Rising from a meeting yesterday, the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas, (HOSCON), urged the federal government to set up the commission to directly administer the funds to the affected communities.
In a communiqué signed by Mr. Monday Whiskey, Director of Media and Publicity, on behalf of the National Executive of the body led by Dr Mike Emuh, the oil-producing communities also demanded the quick passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB)into law.
Among others, the states also requested the federal government to urgently release the cumulative Gas Flare Penalty Levy accruing to them.
The host communities have always argued that since they bear the direct consequences of gas flare, the penalty paid by the multinational oil companies should not be paid into the Federation Account to be shared by the entire country.
“HOSCON also resolves and urges the federal government to urgently release the gas flare penalty levy just as it advocates the establishment of a PDC to solely manage the 13 per cent derivation funds’’, the communities noted.
Aligning with recent, calls for a fair redistribution of ownership of oil wells in the Niger Delta, HOSCON noted that, “a new oil blocs sharing formula that must take into cognisance the local content act and the natural law of equity,’’ should henceforth be agreed upon.
It also demanded‘’ the award of pipelines surveillance contracts to oil and gas producing and impacted communities all over the country as a community policing effort to safeguard the national oil and gas installations.
‘’ And a 100 percent increment in the 2016 budget of the Presidential Amnesty programme to enable the amnesty office carry out its statutory functions without financial encumbrances.”
While condemning the resurgence of militancy in the region, the body noted that as a grassroots mass movement, it would not support the destruction of the common patrimony of the people.
‘’ We call on all warring groups to lay down their arms and embrace peace since it is only through dialogue that and peaceful co-existence that our much desired development and empowerment can come to reality,” the communities noted
The body also called on the federal government to convey a stakeholders’ meeting comprising representatives of the government, royal fathers, ex-militant leaders, HOSCON, women groups, religious groups, security groups as well as Non-Governmental Organisations to seek a permanent solution to the current crisis.