April 14, 2022

PIA: Compelling host communities to forfeit entitlements over vandalisation unfortunate —HOSTCOM

HOSTCOM, Ijaw Committee,

By Emem Idio, Yenogoa

Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas, HOSTCOM, has described as unfortunate, some sections of the Petroleum Industry Act, PIA, holding host communities responsible for any disruption in production activities and vandalisation of facilities.

According to HOSTCOM, it was wrong for the PIA to deny host communities their entitlements on account of damage to facilities in their domains as communities were not the surveillance security contractors paid to secure the facilities.

National Chairman of HOSTCOM, Chief Style Tamaranebi, who addressed newsmen shortly after the national expanded meeting of the group at Bayelsa State HOSTCOM secretariat, yesterday, while commending President Muhammadu Buhari; Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, and the 9th National Assembly for the passage of the Act, however, called for the amendment of Section 257(2,3), describing it as unfriendly to the host communities.

He called for further amendments to give HOSTCOM the powers to interface with host communities with regard to the management of the three per cent Operating Cost (OPEC) for the host communities.

He said: “We decided to have our national expanded meeting here in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State with representatives from the 10 member states to discuss the nitty-gritty and how to assimilate the PIA, and also look at other issues as it affects our communities.

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“On the PIA, the issue of Section 257 subsections 2 and 3 is so unfortunate and unfriendly that the host communities should forfeit their annual entitlements of three per cent of the Operational Cost (OPEC) accrued to them if there are damages and sabotage to oil production or facilities.

“Is it the communities that are sabotaging? That is the question and we are saying that these areas have to be amended. The oil companies have their contractors doing the surveillance job and not the communities. This ought not to be and that is why we are crying out that that section should be amended.

“We are also trying to sensitise the communities to put up their structures. They should also give us (HOSTCOM) that privilege as an oversight function to interface and mediate between the communities and the IOCs. That is the aspect that was not captured in the PIA and that is what we are asking the regulators of the Act for.”

Vanguard News Nigeria