By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoa â€” National Chairman of Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas, HOSCON, Chief Alred Bubor, yesterday, expressed concern over the continued refusal of Bayelsa State Government to accede to the demand of the people for the establishment of Bayelsa State Oil Producing Areas Commission, BASOPADEC.
BASOPADEC, according to the group, will facilitate rapid development at the grassroots.
HOSCON, a pressure group with presence in all the oil producing states, exceptÂ Bayelsa and Rivers states, is campaigning for the 13 percent derivation to be paid to the oil producing states through the host communities.
Speaking at a one-day interactive forum organised in Yenagoa, Chief Bubor urged the people not to relent in their legitimate demand for the establishment of the commission.
He wondered why the government of Bayelsa State, where crude oil was first discovered in commercial quantity at Oloibiri, would kick against the call for the establishment of the commission.
â€œIt is my fervent hope that the Bayelsa State government will respect the yearnings of the people for grassroots development through BASOPADEC, because it will benefit the people and re-brand the government of Bayelsa State,â€ he said.
Other oil states have
He said that a special commission to caters for the developmental needs of communities in Delta, Edo, Abia and Imo had been put in place by their respective governments.
â€œBayelsa State ought to have got a commission since 2008 if the bill sent to state House of Assembly by HOSCON had been passed.
â€œWe are optimistic that with the prevailing peace as a result of the post-amnesty programme, Governor Timipre Sylva will initiate an executive bill to the state HouseÂ for a commission that would be called Bayelsa State Oil Producing Areas Commission, BASOPADEC,â€ he added.
In his remarks, the state coordinator of HOSCON, Chief Bob Nabena, noted that the establishment of the commission would help promote a peaceful environment and ensure economic empowerment resulting from bottom-up integration.
Other benefits of the commission, he said, include, better infrastructural development, full participation in the industry that would ensure protection of production facilities through out the state as well as create employment,Â educational development and impoved health facilities.
These, according to him,Â will improve the social status of the people of the area.
He, therefore, pleaded with the state government to, as a matter of urgency, initiate an executive bill for the House of Assembly to enact a law establishing BASOPADEC in line with the yearnings of the people.
He said, â€œwe believe that through this gathering, Bayelsa State Governor will begin the process of creating a conducive atmosphere and partner with host communities of Nigeria producing oil and gas to ensure lasting peace in their areas.
â€œThe establishment of a commission that would be made up of indigenes of the host communities will go a long way in addressing the problem of project duplication since the benefiting communities would be in position to actualise their needs,â€ he said.