By Michael Eboh
ABUJA—A civil society organization, Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice, CEPEJ, yesterday, accused the Federal Government of withholding gas flare penalty amounting to over N1 trillion, meant for communities in the Niger Delta.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, on its forthcoming annual conference tagged ‘Edo 2017,’ National Coordinator of CEPEJ, Sherriff Mulade, also claimed the three per cent statutory levy paid by oil companies to the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, over the years, had not been utilised for the benefit of the region and had been diverted by politicians.
He said, “In the gas flare penalties paid to the Federal Government amounting to about N1 trillion, we are shocked that up till this moment, none of this money has been released to the communities, and I believe this is mainly because none of these communities have the capacity to agitate for this fund. “
He, however, stated that CEPEJ was aware of the challenges of the communities as regards accessing the gas flare penalty funds, stating that it was in putting in place strategies to confront the Federal Government and ensure that the funds were released to the communities directly, not through a commission.
“This is because most of the commissions set up are politically-inclined and are used by politicians to compensate their friends,” he explained.
Mulade said the conference with its theme: ‘Sustainable security and environment in the Niger Delta: A key to Nigeria development,’and scheduled to hold November 7 and 8, 2017, would deliberate on the refusal of the Federal Government to release the gas flare penalty money and on other issues ranging from security and environmental challenges in the region.
Meanwhile, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has said it has mapped out strategies to boost security around its depots and pump stations to ensure they remain functional.
NNPC in a statement explained that this was part of efforts to consolidate on the successes recorded in the steady supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country.
According to the statement, Managing Director of the Nigerian Pipeline and Storage Company, NPSC, Mr. Luke Anele, spoke during a bid opening exercise for the selection of firms to provide security services at the company’s depots and pump stations across the country.
Represented by NPSC’s Executive Director in charge of Pipelines, Mr. Danladi Ahmed, Anele stated that the NPSC was desirous of engaging reputable and competent security firms to safeguard its critical assets to ensure unimpeded operations and efficient service.