Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt
A non-profit organisation, Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) in collaboration with Ford Foundation have inaugurated a Multi-Stakeholders Platform (MSP) targeted at ensuring a positive collaboration that would achieve the implementation of chapter three of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) which affects the oil bearing communities in the Niger Delta region.
The objective of the MSP is to address key issues, build trust, as well as work towards a common goal of ensuring that community stakeholders maximise the benefits of the PIA in their respective communities by coordinating efforts that help to channel PIA Host Communities Development Trust (HCDTs) funds appropriately.
Inaugurating the platform in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the Executive Director of PIND, Mr. Tunji Idowu, explained that the MSP was one of the components of the Bridges Project of PIND that focuses on how to enable the PIA, the chapter that deals with community relations and how it could succeed well in the Niger Delta.
Idowu explained that the drivers of the MSP are the people that are really affected, the HCDTs, oil bearing communities members, adding that the NDDC and state governments are not commanders of the project but those people who are going to be impacted directly by the actions they will undertake.
Speaking further, the PIND boss said members of the MSP include: 15 members of HCDTs, 5 NGOs, 3 Oil Producers Trade Sector (OPTS), one from Independent Petroleum Producers Group (IPPG), three state governments representatives from the five selected states, PIND as secretariat and the Managing Director of New Nigeria Foundation, Prof Femi Ajibola, as the chairman.
Idowu expressed optimism that, “if we work hard and succeed, we will see a difference and I believe we do have a good chance here if really having a patro development in the Niger Delta, particularly, the oil bearing communities in the region.”
He said “Half of the platform represent the HCDTs, so we want to come in there and impact in terms of best practices. We want to come in, listen to the challenges they have in achieving their development and come up with solution options. We believe with the presence of the participants here today; we can achieve a sustainable development in the area.
“I am hopeful that we can be able to impact in what happens at HCDTs level because the leaders of the HCDTs make up half of the platform.”Speaking further the PIND boss expressed, “My expectation is that the oil producing communities in the Niger Delta will seize this opportunity to really bring development down to their communities.
“Because when you look at countries that are developed, it’s important for them to lay foundation to that development: what are the issues that drives development and to put in their resources in things that drives development.“It is possible for us to be able to get a lot of development through the implementation of the PIA.”
Speaking with journalists at the inauguration programme, the Chairman of MSP, Prof. Obafemi Ajibola, noted that the platform, “brings in stakeholders, about 30 of us from the Host Communities Development Trust (HCDTs) who are presenting the communities, 15 of them across the five states.”