Says, 10% equity, solution to Niger Delta crisis
By Omeiza Ajayi – Abuja
The Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas HOSTCOM have apologised to President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the National Assembly over Thursday’s fracas at a House of Representatives Committee Hearing where some representatives of the communities engaged in fisticuffs.
HOSTCOM also accused the Mike Emuh-led Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas HOSTCON for misrepresenting the communities, and therefore, demanded an investigation to unmask and sanction sponsors of the group.
At a news conference Sunday in Abuja, HOSTCOM president, High Chief Benjamin Style Tamaranebi also declared that an offer of 10 percent equity shares to the host communities in the Petroleum Industry Bill PIB would bring peace to troubled oil and gas producing communities.
Among those at the briefing were the association’s deputy president, Evang. Ibinabo W. Sanipe, National Secretary of HOSTCOM’s Technical Committee, High Chief George Bucknor, Engr. U.S Akpeh; HOSTCOM vice chairman, Rivers State, Elder Dagogo George and Dr Diepiriye Raymond Batubo.
“I want to first of all, with a deep sense of responsibility and patriotism apologise to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, the Minister of State for Petroleum, the Managing Director of NNPC, and the Presidency, the both houses of the National Assembly, especially Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila the Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee, Hon Mohammed Monguno on the 2020 PIB SB 1061 public hearing and the entire Honourable members of the House of Representatives; which includes, the entire Niger Delta region State Governments, other Oil and Gas Producing States outside Niger Delta and members of the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas”, Tamaranebi apologised.
10% equity in PIB
On equity shareholding, Tamaranebi said; “That we are demanding 10 percent equity and the government is offering host communities 2.5 percent operational costs is a clear attempt to shortchange us. Host communities are not beggars. They are not asking for grants or favour but rather for equity participation or shareholding.
“Ten percent equity will guarantee the operating companies their safety on the assets and personnel and will also minimise or drastically reduce pipeline bunkering, vandalism, crude oil theft and many more because once communities knew that 10 percent equity is coming to them, they know that they would be losing if they sabotage the operations. But if 10 percent is given to them, they will consider it as their own business and won’t go there to sabotage”.
He again called for the scrap of all interventionist agencies in the Niger Delta, particularly the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC which he alleged has a history of being used to sponsor elections by any government in power.
“For about 20 years, NDDC has not met up with the mandate of developing our communities. It has been a fat cow being milked by everybody, political cronies, allies. If Party A comes in, they will use NDDC to sponsor their elections. If Party B comes in, they will use NDDC to sponsor their political party or whatever. Is that the mandate of the NDDC? The whole world has seen it that whoever is appointed into NDDC cannot meet up with the expectations of the people but rather servicing the political elite.
“Collate all the funds and put it into HOSTCOM and let host communities appoint trustworthy people to administer the funds”, Tamaranebi advised.