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ECHOES OF PETROLEUM INDUSTRY ACT: Host communities cry over non-implementation of 3% oil derivation fund – From Chukwudi Ejimofor/PH

 Stakeholders pose with the Host Communities President His Highness Dr Benjamin Styles at the event

The President, Host Communities Nigeria Oil and Gas, His Highness Dr. Benjamin Style Tamara-Ebi, JP, has expressed dissatisfaction over the non-implementation of the 3% allocation to oil producing communities as provided for in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA 2021).

Addressing journalists at the sideline of a Town Hall meeting at the Golden Tulip Hotel Stadium Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, organized by The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) in conjunction with HostCom Project Management and Adversary Konsult Ltd, the Royal Father frowned at the delay in the release of the funds accruable to the oil and gas host communities in the past two-and-half years.

He explained that the essence of the Town Hall meeting attended by the Host Communities Development Board of Trustees (HCDTS) and Settlers in Rivers State was “to facilitate the inclusive participation of host communities that are producing oil and gas; judicious use of Petroleum Industrial Act (PIA) 3%  fund that is accrued to them, the non-implementation of the 3% that ought to go to the oil producing communities which have been delayed for over two and half years.”

He expressed disgust at the situation where the host communities are starved of their entitlements.

“Communities are crying because funds are now in their account but they cannot access those funds for the past six months. How can the communities be starved while there are funds in the Bank account? What is the course of the delay?

“Where will the prosperity come from if these funds are not allowed to do the specific jobs they are meant for.  We want to know from the oil companies what the problem is.   We want to know from the communities why it has been like that, and the operators and the regulators come let us discuss as a family, because we are all stakeholders; and for the host communities to have that boom that is expected,” he said.

He said that there has been peace in the oil host communities, adding that only peace can attract development.

According to him, “We preach peace because it is only peace that can bring reasonable development. That’s the reason we are here today.”

According to the Host Communities leader the insensitive attitudes of some of the oil companies toward the plight of their host communities could be interpreted differently from different host communities and that could lead them to engage in violence.

He said:  ”It’s pathetic and annoying the husband that is supposed to superintend the household backs out from his responsibilities. It is best known to them. This engagement is not about war, but to create peace.

“For the oil companies to behave in this was they are opting for anarchy, and we are appealing to the regulator the NUPRC to tell them they should not run away from these engagements because it will be beneficial to them.

“A lot of issues have arisen which they would have been here to answer them for all the stakeholders will know. It would have been a balanced issue. As it is today every allegation is on them. The part of the oil host communities has been peace, because it is only peace that can attract development. it’s only peace that can bring reasonable development. That’s the reason we are here today”.

Responding, Mr. Success Ikpe, representative of NUPRC Port Harcourt regional office, said that “NUPRC is the agency ensuring the implementation of Host Communities Development’s funds, in line with the provisions of Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) of 2021. Today NUPRC has been able to communicate to the Host Communities achievements that it has made towards achieving their goals. Funding is a process, as we move, we shall engage more companies to fund.”

He further stressed that some of the oil companies were present, adding that it is an ongoing process.

Madam Rose Orubabo, national woman leader of Host Communities, producing oil and gas lamented about the insensitivities of the Oil Producing Companies to their host communities.

“The issue we have in our communities is that we don’t want the GMO anymore, we want trust fund. PIA provides for funding the board that will manage the fund for the Communities. Since 1967 Shell acquired the area from us, they have stopped paying the rent.”

The event attracted representatives of oil producing communities in the South-South region of the country.

 

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