By Emma Amaize
WARRIâ€”HOST Communities of Nigeria, Oil and Gas (HOSTCON), has urged the Federal Government not to transmitÂ the recently endorsed 10 per cent royalty to host communities through the state governments.
According to the group, the experiences with most of the governors regarding management of the 13 percent oil derivation over the years are not palatable.
The group in a press statement signed by its Public Relations Officer, Dr. Mike Emuh, made available to Vanguard in Warri, suggested that the10 per cent royalty should be paid directly to the host communities to pick up the pace of development in the Niger-Delta.
HOSTCON advocated that a Board be inaugurated by the Federal Government to oversee the application of the funds by the host communities and allayedÂ fears that the money would tear the host communities apart.
The group noted that state governors have not properly accounted for the 13 percent derivation funds that have been passing through their hands, adding that it would be unwise to allow the 10 percent oil royalty go through them.
Its words:Â Â â€œThis one (10 percent) should go directly to the grassroots, not to be handled by any part of the state government.Â Â The Federal Government should pay this money direct to HOSTCON.â€
Dr. Emuh also pleaded with the government to make haste to approve the oil pipeline surveillance task force to the host communities as already agreed with HOSTCON, adding that the government should also not forget to ask the International Oil Companies (I.O.C) to stop gas flaring by the end of this year.
He said HOSTCON resolved to extend its ultimatum to the oil companies by 90 days after it expired in October, to give the oil firms more time to stop the practice.
â€œBy January 2010, any oil company in Nigeria that flares gas will suffer the penalty. The fact is that whatever the outcome they should take it from host communities.
â€œSo, any company that flares gas should stop it before 31 December 2009. We want to appreciate the I.O.C for paying up all the outstanding debts of gas flare penalty to the federal government through the Central Bank,â€ the group said.