Group reject proposed 3% host communities fund
By Kenechukwu Obiajuru, Yenagoa
A non-governmental organisation, Mangrove People’s Leadership Initiative, Voice of the South-South has rejected the three per cent funds proposed by the National Assembly to host communities in the Petroleum Industry Bill, calling for an upward review.
The stakeholders who made this known at the end of a two-day south-south grassroots conference tagged south-south and the politics of the petroleum industry bill held in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state said it is absurd to allocate thirty per cent of NNPC profit to the exploration of oil and gas in frontier basins, while those communities bearing the brunt of the exploration are to receive three per cent.
Speaking during the event, the president-general of Mangrove People’s Leadership Initiative, Chief Dick Harry said the three per cent proposed for host communities in the petroleum industry bill should be reviewed to ensure oil-producing communities receive not less than ten per cent for operating expenditure.
He further stated that if the bill is not revisited and amended to favour oil-bearing communities, Niger Deltans may be forced to stage a protest to oppose the bill.
Also speaking, the secretary-general of Mangrove People’s Leadership Initiative, Mfawa Ofegbobi, who appealed to President Mohammadu Buhari not to assent to the bill said those from host communities must be allowed to be given due representation in the board of trustees.
The national women leader of mangrove People’s Leadership Initiative, Runyi Kanu, and the Bayelsa state chairman, Pastor Esther Martins, expressed their dissatisfaction with the proposed three percent for host communities in the petroleum industry bill and appealed to women in the region to come out en masse and publicly oppose it if need be.
Our correspondent also reports that the stakeholders of Mangrove people’s leadership initiative also commended the South-South governors for passing a law to end open grazing in the region.