….Reaffirms Emuh As National Chairman
Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas, HOSCON has declared as unacceptable the Federal Government continuous keeping of the N98bn gas flare penalty money owed oil producing communities.
BIGPEN Online understands that the money which was paid by the IOCs to the Department of Petroleum Resources few years ago and later wired to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, for the host communities have been a subject of controversy after the CBN transferred it to the federation account.
National Chairman, HOSCON, Dr. Mike Emuh, who addressed newsmen over the development shortly after he was reaffirmed for a second term of four years during an Annual General Meeting, AGM, held in Effurun, near Warri, Delta State, over the weekend, said that there is serious agitation in the Niger Delta region over the delay in releasing the money.
He said that the Federal Government for reasons yet to be fathom have kept the fund in the federation account instead of the HOSCON account, maintaining that releasing the money would help to sustain existing peace in the region.
Explaining how the money came, he said, the money was paid by International Oil Companies, IOCs to the DPR for the host communities in accordance with international law.
“The law requires the fund to be paid to the host communities for environmental degradation, pollution and plundering of the communities as a result of gas flaring.
“But the IOCs paid the fine to the Department of Petroleum Resources and on receipt of the money, DPR pays the money to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, who later transfers the money to the Federation Account. This is an aberration,” he added
Emuh, also said that the Federal Government also approved the training of ten thousand youths from host communities for Pipelines surveillance and intelligence gathering job based on recommendation of European Union that critical oil installations should be guarded by host communities but have failed to engage the youths long after their training in the region.
In the same vein, Emuh lamented that approval was also given for establishment of modular refineries in the region by host communities and ten licences were agreed to be given to HOSCON but the process is also delayed.
On 13 percent derivation fund, Emuh said that there is no law backing the allocation of the fund to state or local governments as it is now, saying it was the prerogative of Mr. President and host communities to administer the fund.
According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari had asked HOSCON to forward the template for implementation and onward release of the fund to the host communities, but some governors who enjoy 13 percent derivation fund may not be happy with the development and may be antagonizing it.
At the meeting, Dr. Emuh and his executive committee were unanimously adopted for another tenure of four years after a motion was moved by his Highness Obong Okon S. Akpomowong, chairman Akwa Ibom HOSCON and seconded by chairman of Bayelsa State HOSCON, NIJ idubamo-Awala.
Photograph in this story: National Chairman of Host Communities of Nigeria, HOSCON, Dr Mike Emuh inspecting a guard of honour mounted by the personnel of Pipeline Vigilant Group at the just concluded Annual General Meeting, AGM of HOSCON held in Effurun, near Warri, Delta State at the weekend. Photo: BIGPEN NIGERIA