Oil producing communities in the oil rich Niger Delta under the aegis of Host Communities of Nigeria, Producing Oil and Gas, HOSTCOM, have issued fresh conditions for peace to reign in the region.
The host communities highlight their five conditions as follows:
1. Immediate release by the Federal Government, of part of the gas flare penalty funds to HOSTCOM
2. Immediate passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, by the National Assembly
3. Re-routing of the 13 per cent derivation fund in the Exclusive List, directly to HOSTCOM account as enshrined in Section 162.2 of the constitution, which the group said is against the ongoing practice of payment to the accounts of states and local governments
4. Outright award of pipeline surveillance contracts to HOSTCOM and
5. Creation of a new Directorate of Hostland Security with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, to cater directly for security needs of host communities including government and International Oil Companies’ investments.
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Expantiating on the demands, the National Chairman of HOSTCOM, Dr. Mike Emuh, who regretted the non inclusion of youths in the dialogue committee set up by the federal government, said: “We support everything that was discussed and agreed upon at the meeting, especially as they were all in the interest of the Niger Delta.
“However, it should not always be about the elders. The people who are responsible for all the destructions in the region and those who are at the forefront of the agitations are the youths; they should have been carried along also.”
Emuh howver accused governors at the meeting of Niger Delta elders with President Muhammadu Buhari of subduing the issue of the 13% derivation fund from the agenda of the meeting.
HOSTCOM also called on the Federal Government to ensure the immediate release of part of the gas flaring penalty funds. The funds is said to stand at N98 billion currently.
Speaking further, Emuh said the presidency confirmed that the funds were available and had signed for its release for October. He however alleged that the Chief of staff to the President delayed its release.
By Timothy Enietan-Matthews….
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