BY DAPO AKINREFON
A Niger Delta group, under the aegis of Izon Ikemi, has said that there was need for oil producing communities to directly manage their derivation funds from the federation account.
It also reiterated its unshaken faith in, and support for President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and his administration, just as it called for urgent attention to be given to the peoples’ desire for an even better management of regional and national affairs.
In a communıque ıssued ın Lagos, Izon Ikemı stated that the derıvatıon funds currently paıd to state government coffers should now be paıd dırectly to communıtıes ınvolved.
The communıque was joıntly sıgned by, Chıef Ateke Tom, Chief Tom Ateke, Mr Tony Uranta (Chaırman) Ebikabowei Ben, Chief Kalaiti Jephthah, Chief Dere Biemgbo Ofokome and Akpos Mezeh (Secretary) among others.
The forum said “the oil and gas producing communities bear the brunt of exploration activities and are not properly taken care of wıth the funds by theır states.
It, however, urged the relevant government institutions and the Presidency to put ın place, administrative committees through appropriate mechanism, to correct the obvious injustice of paying the 13 per cent Derivation Fund through State Governors that have not always been transparent nor accountable with said monies.
While it also urged the National Assembly to expedite action the passage into an Act of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), the Izon Ikemi leadership said “”The quality of life of the people speedily declines by the day and the region lags far behind its Nigerian counterparts in terms of basic infrastructures such as roads, education, health care services, pipe borne water and electricity. The end result is widespread poverty and high rate of frustration throughout the region.”
In addition, the group argued that the Petroleum Industry Bill is a “critical tool to boosting the nation’s revenue-monitoring systems, and positively impacting the lives of all Nigerian citizens, including those in the Niger Delta region.”
“In this wise, we strongly advise National Legislators be more concerned about the PIB’s far reaching objectives of ensuring efficient and transparent management of the petroleum sector, to the benefit of all Nigerians” it stated.
Lamented that the Niger Delta Region had continued to suffer criminal neglect in spite of the cry of the indigenes for proper attention/ remedial actions on account of environmental degradation, pollution and other negative effects associated with exploration and production activities of the Oil Companies, it said “the East–West Road traversing the Niger Delta region, and into the southern states of the Country as a putative Trunk “A” federal road, has remained in a terrible state in spite of the deadly nature that the road has deteriorated to.”The communiqué reads: “Its so paınful that the report of the commıttee received by both the then late President Umaru Musa Yaradua ıs stıll not ımplemented.
It ıs paınful that no comprehensive or sustainable environment remediation action has taken place, not even in Ogoni-land, despite the UNDP/UNEP Report recommending that urgent action commence.”