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PIB: South-South governors say FG short-changed region, demand 10% for host communities

“We feel already short-changed as a people in the Niger Delta.”

• March 9, 2021
South South Governors
South South Governors

South-South governors have demanded the upward review from 2.5 percent to 10 percent, appropriated to the Trust Fund for host oil communities in the Petroleum Industry Bill.

The governors said they felt short-changed by the federal government.

Chairman of the South-South Forum and Governor of Delta, Ifeanyi Okowa, stated this at the end of the South-South governors’ meeting in Port Harcourt.

“We feel already short-changed as a people in the Niger Delta, and we believe that we do not wish to see this kind of situation continue going forward into the future because our people feel the pains. We do not want a situation where there is an abuse of processes; neither should we have a situation where we have abuse of funds,” the Delta governor said on behalf of the other governors.

Mr. Okowa said the 2.5 percent appropriated in the PIB, now before the National Assembly for the host communities, was inadequate.

“We are of the view that while we welcome the Host Community Trust Fund, we do believe that 2.5 per cent that is appropriated in that bill for the purpose of host community fund is inadequate.

“We have discussed with our people, and collectively as leaders of the people in our various states and as leaders standing in on behalf of our people, we urge the National Assembly to increase the provision in the host community fund from 2.5 percent to 10 percent,” said the governor.

He added, “This is in the best interest of our communities and the nation.” 

If satisfied with the trust fund provision, Mr. Okowa maintained that the host communities would be watchdogs of oil facilities on behalf of oil companies, the federal and state governments.

“A peaceful environment in the various oil communities would enable us to have greater and seamless production, without any form of disruption going into the future.

“The governors have also urged President Muhammadu Buhari that in the absence of the Niger Delta Development Commission board, funds for the commission, beyond the payment of salaries, should be put in an escrow account until he constitutes the board.

“Our advice is that monies being sent to the NDDC should be put in an escrow account until a board is constituted and then proper processes are followed in the expenditure of the money for visible accounting,” Mr. Okowa explained. 

(NAN)

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