By Joseph Erunke
YOUTHS in the Niger Delta region have rejected the provision of three per cent equity shareholding in the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB to host communities.
Operating under the aegis of Niger Delta Youth Council, NDYC, they insisted that the ceding of only three per cent equity shareholding to the oil and gas producing communities was unacceptable.
To this end, they urged all stakeholders in the region to rise up and insist that the 10 per cent demand be implemented.
It would be recalled that the Nigerian Senate recently passed the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, after the House of Representatives did the same. In the Bill, three per cent profit from oil companies is ceded to host communities
But the NDYC in a statement jointly signed by its national coordinator, Engr Jator Abido, and the director for international affairs, Comr Collins Ufuoma Achakpekri explained that while the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill was a welcome development, the allocation of only three per cent profit from oil companies to host communities was grossly inadequate and needed to be reviewed upwardly.
“The Niger Delta Youth Council rejects the three per cent to host communities and 30 per cent 30 percent of the profit generated by the proposed Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited to the exploration of oil in ‘frontier basins’ as stipulated in the PIB. We demand for 10 per cent as host communities and five for impact community.
“The three per cent allocated to host communities is grossly inadequate. Prior to the passage, many stakeholders appealed to the National Assembly to allocate five per cent profit to the host communities.
“The earlier five per cent canvassed for was rejected to be poor. Cutting it down to three per cent is unimaginable and unacceptable. Communities, who own these resources and suffer the devastation of oil exploration and exploitation, deserve a better deal than three per cent.
“It is our firm belief that the members of the National Assembly got it wrong at a point but would revisit the issue and make necessary adjustments. Should the National Assembly fails to do the needful, we call on President Muhammadu Buhari who has proven to be passionate about the Niger Delta issues to insist that the three per cent is reviewed to 10 percent before signing the Bill into law,” the statement noted.
It further averred that the three per cent as proposed is unfair to the region considering the fact that host committees are suffering from environmental degradation, air pollution, and other epidemic being caused by the oil exploration from the communities.
The statement also urged the Federal Government round off the forensic audit being carried out in NDDC so as to inaugurate the already screened board.