ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
Ex-militants from the states in the Niger Delta, under the aegis of the Niger Delta Advocate for Peace and Good Governance (NDAPGG), have urged leaders in the region to stop the blame game on the three per cent allocated to host communities in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
The NDAPGG, therefore, urged the leadership of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), the Ijaw National Congress (INC) and the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) to focus on ways to support the proper implementation of the allocated funds for the development of host communities.
The ex-agitators in an electronic statement on Wednesday by the National Coordinator of the group, Comrade Fiawei Pathfinder, and the National Secretary, Comrade A.K. Peters, urged the people of the region to calm down and focus on strategic development plan for the region.
The group said: “It is not the time for us to point accusing fingers and apportion blames against any person or group of persons.
“This is time for us to come together and join hands as stakeholders from the various ethnic nationalities in the region that make up the oil producing communities and see how we can properly manage the three per cent for the development of host communities.”
The group noted that despite the misinformation in the region, the 20 per cent set aside by the provision of the PIA was not to be shared to the Northern region, rather it was a reserved fund meant for the rainy days if eventually, production of crude oil goes down at the international market.
NDAPGG noted: “The reserved fund will be used for the development of the oil producing communities and there is another percentage of amount of funds that Mr President set aside for capital projects for the oil producing communities in the creeks.
“The PIA will unbundle most of the different agencies in the oil industry that are not beneficial to the oil producing communities who are the original owners of the oil, such as the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and Petroleum Ecological Fund.
“These agencies were created to take away benefits from the creeks to far away Northern part of the country and outside the country which was inimical to the people of the region. These and many more will be revoked by the Petroleum Industry Act.
“In all, the PIA that was just signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari is over 90 per cent more beneficial to the oil and gas producing communities in the Niger Delta than any other zone in the country.
“The PIA also guarantees transparency and accountability with much profitability to the people of the region when the multinational oil companies will be doing their exploitation and exploration activities in the region.”
On the threat of persona non grata issued against the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, the group said the threat was misplaced and misguided.
It said the duo of Sylva and the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Mr Simbi Wabote, are not members of the National Assembly that could have influenced the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).