Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Oil-bearing communities in the Niger Delta have again demanded the direct payment of the 13 per cent derivation to affected local communities, rather than the political arrangement that currently obtains.
The National Chairman of the Host Communities of Nigeria (HOSCON) Dr. Mike Emuh, in an interaction with journalists saturday, said unless the monies go directly to the communities, agitations would continue to persist.
â€œWe strongly advocate the direct allocation of the 13 per cent derivation fund to the oil and gas producing communities as the panacea for social economic development and permanent security for sensitive national oil/gas facilities in the Niger Delta area.
â€œAdded to this is the payment of gas flare penalty money to the host communities of Nigeria as obtains in other nations of the world that are oil producing who suffer the same environmental and ecological challenges like Nigeria,â€ he maintained.
He insisted that HOSCON as a â€œgrassroots mass movementâ€ believes in the efforts being made by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo , but noted that they needed to be advised on the right step to take.
â€œTherefore, we will do everything to give the government the needed support and the right advice that can help to reposition things for the better.
â€œSection 162(2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended is very clear as to the usage and control of 13 per cent derivation funds.
â€œThat section of the constitution recognises the oil and gas producing communities as the rightful owners of 13 per cent derivation results. All effort to pay such money through the respective governors of the oil and gas producing states has not yielded the desired result and HOSCON is confident it will never yield such results,â€ he stated.
The group insisted that if development must come to the Niger Delta, the president who has the power over such issues must act fast.
â€œHOSCON is very ready to partner the federal government and notable foreign partners to take off the streets of the Niger Delta over 10,000 young men and women into the talked about pipeline security surveillance, modular refineries initiative and agro-business initiative.
â€œThe federal government should as a matter of urgency identify sustainable local initiatives that can create jobs in the Niger Delta to address the huge abundance of qualified and employable army of youths that sometimes take to crimes,â€ HOSCON said.