…As state govt allegedly loses N30m daily from non remittance of 13% oil revenue derivation
By Nwabueze Okonkwo
ONITSHA – Excited by the federal government’s proposal to build a Modular Refinery in Anambra state, based on the approval of 10 Modular Refineries to be cited in each of the 11 oil producing states in the country, including Anambra, by the federal government, the people of Anaku community in Ayamelum Local Government Area of the state have donated a large expanse of land estimated at about 20 plots of land for the project.
A member of Board of Trustees, BoT of Anambra state chapter of Host Communities Producing Oil and Gas,HOSCON in the state, Joseph Obidigwe who disclosed this in Awka, while briefing the National Chairman of HOSCON, Prince Mike Emuh, explained that he single handedly convinced his fellow Anaku land owners to donate the land in their own interest.
Obidigwe noted that the community was ready to donate more lands if the 20 plots would not be enough for the refinery project because according to them, there is abundant oil deposits in the area to be tapped and refined for both export and local consumption, adding that they are now looking forward for the take off of the project in earnest.
In his opening remarks, the state Chairman of HOSCON, Hon. Anthony Chiokwe and his deputy, Anene Onyilegbe Gregory, had explained that they have gone round the state and discovered more than 50 oil wells in about 12 oil producing communities of the state are abound in commercial quantities and waiting to be tapped, as applicable in other oil producing states.
Chiokwe and Onyilegbe disclosed that Aguleri alone has about 26 oil wells, while Ogwu-Ikpelle has as much as 16 oil wells, just like Ogwu-Aniocha has five wells, Anaku has nine wells, Umerum, three wells, two wells in Abagana, while Okija and Umunnachi wells were said to have been overflown and are currently spilling.
Addressing the HOSCON members in what he tagged a town hall meeting, the NationalChairman of HOSCON , Prince Emuh identified economic recession, disunity, ignorance and boundary disputes between Anambra state and its sister states as some of the major factors that deprived Anambra state of its 13 percent oil revenue derivation, since former President Goodluck Jonathan declared it as an oil producing state in the year 2012.
Emuh lamented that the state, unlike other oil producing states, is losing about N30 million daily since six years after the presidential declaration of the state as an oil producing state because either by omission or commission, the 13 percent derivation formula has not been gazetted by the appropriate government agencies.
Emuh who also inaugurated the state committee for the proposed Anambra’s Modular Refinery project, said apart from economic recession which the country is just recovering from, ignorance among Anambra citizens and lack of political will to pursue their legitimate rights, boundary disputes between the state and its neighboring sister states and leadership crisis within the state chapter of HOSCON were the major constraints militating against including the state in the 13 percent derivation formula since then.
Flanked by Prince Sam Igbinika, National Secretary of HOSCON; Mrs. Perpetual Ogene, National Women leader and other national officers on one side, Anambra HOSCON officers, including the state chairman, Chiokwe, his Deputy, Onyilegbe, the Secretary, Comrade Okeke Ekenechukwu; the state Organizing Secretary, Ifeanyi Chigbo (a.k.a. Target); Deputy Woman Leader, Mrs. Ugochi Nwonuma and BoT member, Obidigwe on the other side Emuh regretted that Anambra state’s case in terms of oil and gas, as well as 13 percent derivation and HOSCON administration is complex in the sense that the state is presently having an old, parallel and new HOSCON administration at the moment.
He however gave the assurance that once they come together under one umbrella and fight for the 13 percent derivation, HOSCON at the national level would definitely assist them in getting the derivation, adding that apart from holding series of meetings with traditional rulers in Anambra state, he is now seeking audience with Governor Willie Obiano with a view to enlightening him on how to go about the derivation.
He noted that Anambra has so much oil deposits to warrant including it in the derivation revenue to enable it get the N30 million daily from the NNPC or NDDC, adding that the state has two oil blocs worth N9.3 trillion which is estimated at about three percent of total national budget.
He also assured the refinery committee that once they bring out at least 20 plots of land in an oil located area of the state, HOSCON national executive would assist the state in bringing foreign technical partner to finance the modular refinery which he estimated at N30 billion.
Responding, some of the HOSCON stakeholders in the state, Chief Cyril Nnamekwe and Chief Alex Akora, commended Emuh for opening their eyes to the enormous benefits accruable to oil deposits in the state, which other oil producing states have been enjoying for long and moved a motion adopting Anthony Chiokwe-led state executive as the authentic executive committee of HOSCON in the state.