The oil and gas host communities (Host com) in South-South Geo-political zone Gas has called for a special commission where the 13 percent derivation funds being paid to the state governments would be channelled directly to develop the communities in the region.
The representative of HostCom in the zone, Amb. Herbert C. Awortu made the submission public during the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) Host Communities Stakeholders meeting with the members of the Senate Committee on PIB, led by the Committee Charman, Sen. Kabir Marafa in Port Harcourt, last Friday.
Awortu, who is also the chairman of Hostcom. Rivers State chapter called for equity, fairness and development of the oil and gas host communities as roadmap to sustainable peace and unity in the country.
The host Com. leader who blamed the years of neglect of the oil and gas communities’ development on the improper use of fund allocated to NDDC and state governments in the region, called for a comprehensive plan that would allow funds to be paid directly to the host-communities commission by both the federal and state governments.
Awortu also called for inclusion of host communities’ contract exclusive rights in the host com.bill of the Federal Government, saying that most of the problems and crises were caused by award of contract to foreigners who could not accommodate the culture and citizens of the area in the execution contracts.
Also speaking, the representative of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni local government host communities, Dr Okey Eli, wanted the oil and gas communities to be part of any negotiation including the right to determine the exploration and exploitation companies to operate in the region.
Eli, a retired Director of NNPC expressed the need to allow communities to manage their resources and pay royalty to the federal and state governments.
The retired NNPC Director, who noted that the direct bearers of oil and gas were the worst underdeveloped areas in the country, urged the senate committee to consider the after effect of the oil and gas exploration in the affected communities and legislate a law that would timely address the situation before it escalated.