A group, 1001+ Voices Initiative for People Empowerment, an NGO dedicated to making the people aware of their democratic rights and advocating for the entrenchment of a more robust democratic society, has urged the National Assembly to reconsider the 3% allocation in Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) provided for the oil-bearing host communities in the Niger-Delta region before the Bill is sent to the President for assent.
The group, which gave the position in Uyo through a statement signed by its Executive Secretary, Prince Uwemobong Ankak, frowned at the untoward development perceived to be sponsored by some northern-centric interests in the Parliament.
The statement said “While we are encouraged to add our respectable voice to the ongoing controversy, we cannot but vehemently frown at ignominious allocation of meagre 3% derivation royalties to host oil bearing communities of the Niger-Delta region. This, we widely consider as a grave affront on the sensibilities of the Niger-Delta people which own the largest mass of oil deposits in the country by some obvious but speculated interests.”
“Against the background of this obnoxious intent of the PIB, we make bold and to categorically state that the recommended 3% allocation as proposed in the PIB, falls far below oil bearing communities’ expectations; especially weighed against an earlier demand for a 20% derivation of oil proceeds to this affected communities.”
The statement further noted that “the years of devastation of our farmlands and water sources due to oil exploration activities has only but increasingly led to heightened marginalization and unabrogated neglect of the areas by various governments. This cannot be allowed to continue in the face of our growing democracy.”
The group also described as “mind boggling, why a paltry 3% should be considered as adequate allocation to oil bearing communities. How can it be explained in the global eye of justice that an area suffering the most of indignities and discomforts of oil exploration in the country is awarded a paltry 3%, while 30% NNPC annual profit is designated in the said Bill to be magnanimously apportioned and approved for exploration of Frontier Basins of Lake Chad, where oil is presently prospected as well as inclusion of places where oil pipelines pass through as host communities?”
The NGO stated that it aligns its position with key stakeholders in Southern Nigeria who have described the 3% recommendation as a ”coup foist by some Northern elements in the National Assembly and their hegemonic collaborators against the Southern and oil-bearing interest.”
The group calls on the National Assembly to tow the path of honour, fairness and the exhibition of a sense of democratic justice by considerably increasing the contentious allocation to oil bearing host communities from the objectionable 3% to between 5% and 10%.