.Seek crude oil lifting contract
By Michael Eboh & Mayowa Baiyegunhi
Oil producing communities, under the aegis of Host Communities of Nigeria, Producing Oil and Gas, HOSCON, yesterday, denounced threats by some youths to declare Niger Delta Republic and also destabilize crude oil and gas production in the region.
Speaking to Vanguard in Abuja, National Chairman of HOSCON, Mr. Mike Emuh, called on the aggrieved youths and agitators to exercise restraint and embrace dialogue in their quest to ensure the development of the region.
Emuh also called on the Federal Government to immediately fulfill all its promises to the region without delay and meet all the demands leaders of oil producing communities had tabled before it.
He said, “What our children should understand is that for a significant number of years, the economy of this country was destroyed. All the seaports — Delta State has four seaports — all were closed down. The issue of privatization, issue of monetization, were used as tricks to promote corruption and there were no development in terms of infrastructure; no significant development in the country.
“Over 482 industries were shut down within those number of years, and all the sea ports, 90 percent of them were shut down; nothing could work. Today we have over 130 approved federal universities producing over 41,000 graduates a year and 10,000 cannot be employed. “With this threat, Federal Government should call on the host communities, call on the leaders of thoughts of the Niger Delta region and then call on the leaders of these boys, the freedom fighters, consult one another and then bring peace.”
He, however, bemoaned the widespread under-development and neglect of the oil –producing communities, while he called on the government to take the development of the region seriously.
He said, “The 10,000 youths that we drew from all the oil producing states have been trained for pipeline surveillance security and on intelligence security. Over one year to two years now, nothing had been done. Pipeline contracts have not been given to the host communities. The Gas Flare penalty levy money has not been released to the host communities; the IOCs and Nigerian oil companies, NOC, are still operating.
“For instance, we are talking about oil blocks. Nothing has been done in this regard for the region. Federal government should give oil blocks not to individuals but to the host communities and should look at the issue of right to lift crude oil.
“Among all the companies lifting crude oil in Nigeria, out of over 25, I doubt if we have up to five from the south-south lifting crude oil. These are what our children are crying for. They are saying that nothing has been done. I want to plead with the federal government to make haste and to do something.”