•Oba Ewuare II of Benin
By Gabriel Enogholase
OBA of Benin, Omo N’Oba Ewuare 11, has told members of the Host Communities of Nigeria Oil Producing and Gas, HOSTCOM, that their offer to him to be their National Grand Patron would better be appreciated if there was unity among them and if they can speak with one voice.
The Benin monarch who spoke in Benin City, Edo State, yesterday when he received a faction of HOSTCOM leadership in his Palace, therefore, called on them to bury their differences and unite for a common purpose.
He insisted that he would not want to deal with a particular faction of the body, saying that rather, he would do everything possible to bring the two factions together with a view to uniting them for a common purpose.
He said, “You must find ways to achieve unity in order for the body to access the benefit coming to the Host Communities from the Federal Government.”
He however, thanked members of the group for their various contributions to the success of HOSTCOM, and promised to do his best to unite the group into a body that the Federal Government would listen to.
Appealing to the leadership of HOSTCOM to toll the path of peace, Oba Ewuare II promised to liaise with President Mohammadu Buhari on the matter and also seek the way forward for the group.
The Benin monarch also charged the leadership of HOSTCOM to do everything possible to prevent youths from engaging in pipeline vandalism.
Addressing His Royal Majesty, the chairman of a group of HOSTCOM, Prince Dr. Mike Emu, said President Buhari has granted 13 percent derivation to HOSTCOM, and the body has been mandated to recruit 10,000 youths as pipeline surveillance officers.
Dr. Emu said they were in the palace to inform the Oba of Benin of the progress made so far and pleaded with the Oba to accept to be the National Grand Patron of HOSTCOM.
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Contributing, one of the founding members of HOSTCOM, Chief Wellington Okrika gave a historical account of the formation of HOSTCOM, pointing out that the Oba of Benin was very instrumental to the formation of the body.
The leader of the other group of HOSTCOM, King Edmund Dakoru, the Amanayanbor of Nembe said the inability of HOSTCOM members to agree had hampered the disbursement of the money accruing to HOSTCOM, and expressed worry that a break out faction of the body was trying to get the money to the detriment of other members.
King Dakoru however, appealed to the Oba of Benin to intervene in the matter, as they all believe in his fatherly role in resolving their differences.