By Emma Amaize
WARRI â€” URHOBO Elders and Leaders Council has called for the establishment of a statutory board for the Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF) like other government parasatals,Â appointment of a reputable external auditor and publication of its audited accounts annually to check mismanagement of funds.
The council, led by Senator Fred Brume with Chief Gabriel Ofotokun as Secretary, noted at the end of its meeting in Ughelli that the anomalous biases in the control and management of the PTDF have been a major tool of injustice, oppression and neglect in the affairs of the oil industry in the Niger Delta.
The Urhobo leaders said though the PTDF was established primarily for the purpose of developing indigenous technology in the oil and gas industry, it uses its funds for all kinds of irrelevant activities and does not lay deserved emphasis on the catchment areas of the countryâ€™s oil and gas production in utilising its funds.
It advocated that the headship of the PTDF, which has been strangely reserved for the North since its establishment should be manned by people from other zones of the country, particularly the South-South, which is the oil and gas catchment area.
According to the statement, â€œthe council also advocates a relocation of the funds headquarters of PTDF to the area of petroleum, which is also the best location for the training institutions, as this would enhance the practical training of students.â€
The council also expressed shock at the Petroleum Minister, Dr. Rilwanu Lukmanâ€™s recent revelation and declaration,Â and rejectedÂ the implied notion that Niger Deltans would mostly to be trained and relegated to the lower rungs of the manpower for the oil industry.