By Michael Eboh
Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSCON), has disclosed that the Federal Government is currently working with oil-producing communities in the country to review the template for the payments of the 13 per cent derivation of revenue generated from oil and gas directly to host communities.
In an interview with Vanguard in Abuja, National Chairman of HOSCON, Mr Mike Emuh, said this became necessary because the constitution stipulates that proceeds from the 13 per cent derivation of revenues from oil be paid directly to oil-producing communities.
He stated that the review of the payment template was in addition to the approval granted the host communities to engage in pipeline surveillance across the length and breadth of the Niger Delta.
He said: “President Buhari also gave us approval for pipeline surveillance, and gave approval for the review of 13 per cent derivation template, based on the amended 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, which states that the money is the right of the host communities that produce oil and gas, and this is being extended to other minerals including solid minerals. As we are talking now, we are working on the template.”
He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that the 13 per cent derivation goes directly to the oil-producing communities by creating a presidential 13 per cent derivation committee, while people from the host communities should be appointed to the committee.
Emuh further called on oil companies operating in the Niger Delta region to pay the outstanding $14 billion gas flare penalty levy to the host communities, noting that most of the oil companies had not paid this fine for more than ten years.
He said the presidency had created an opportunity for collaboration between the oil-producing communities and the European Union, adding that the latter had advised oil-producing communities to work in synergy with both the international and indigenous oil firms to create an enabling environment for oil operations and economic growth.
He urged the president to mandate all oil companies to relocate their headquarters to the states from which they operate, adding: “The International oil companies should make sure that they relocate from Lagos to the areas of their operations. Their presence in Lagos is already adding to the many challenges of the state, such as in the area of population and traffic congestion.”
Emuh further called on the president to carry along indigenes of oil-producing communities in governance, as according to him, this would create a level playing field for the region and create an enabling environment for industrialisation, increased employment and improved agriculture.
On the issue of security in the country, Emuh said, “I want to say that the issue of insecurity should not be an issue of religion neither should it be an issue of politics. It should be an issue of challenge.