The alleged removal of
the 10 per cent Host Community Fund from the new draft of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has been described as a new form of injustice on the oil-producing communities of the Niger Delta region.
Reacting to the development, in an interview with newsmen in Port Harcourt yesterday, a group, Niger Delta Youth Coalition (NDYC) expressed fear that the PIB which was being envisaged as an instrument to address anomalies in the oil and gas sector might after all fail in its bid.
National co-ordinator of NDYC, Prince Emmanuel Ogba, wondered why those representing the Niger Delta region at the National Assembly would watch with indifference their colleagues from other parts of the nation while the region continues to suffer.
“One can now understand why the PIB since it was initiated by the former president Musa Ya’Adua, continued to be frustrated at the National Assembly so the problem has become the interest of the host communities who lose so much in the name of oil.”
Ogba noted that presence of oil and gas in the region has, instead of bringing blessing and development, continued to be a curse to the area; bringing environmental degradation, pollution of all kinds and diseases.
He urged members of the National Assembly to accommodate the 10 per cent host community fund and other interests of the people for sustainable development.
He also said, NDYC may have no option than to take legal action against appropriate quarters if the 10 per cent host community fund was expunged from the new PIB.
“We are watching the National Assembly, particularly members from Niger Delta and at the appropriate time, NDYC will take legal action in that regard,” he said.