Members of the Ekpeye Oil and Gas Pipelines Host Families Association of Rivers State have presented before the National Assembly, separate demands, different from the 10 per cent operational cost being advocated by the Niger Delta host communities.
The host communities are demanding a 10 per cent operational cost from oil firms, a development that has remained a major contentious issue since the proposed law was introduced to the 6th National Assembly in September 2008.
The host communities started their demand when they asked for a 10 per cent net profit in the PIB in 2012.
They reduced it to five per cent of actual expenditure in 2018.
The provision of 2.5 per cent was recommended for them in the PIB 2020 but the President of HOSTCOMS, Benjamin Tamaranebi, said the reduction of host community development trust fund from 10 per cent in 2008 to 2.5 per cent in the 2020 PIB, would deny the people of funds required to develop their areas.
However, the Ekpeye Oil and Gas Pipelines Host Families Association of Rivers State, said they and other host families in the Niger Delta region deserved the necessary recognition in the proposed law.
Chidi said the EOG, being a leading grass roots based non-governmental organisation in Ekpeye land in Rivers State, deserved adequate recognition because they were the original owners of the land where crude is being extracted.
He said the group, if accorded the necessary recognition and support, would come up with a core objective on how to encourage the use of local contents and local indigenous technology where necessary.
He said, “The EOG also seeks to achieve a peaceful and conducive environment through skill and Small and Medium Enterprises development and to enlighten and educate their people through workshops, seminars and conferences.
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“The proposed law should bestow on the EOG, the responsibility of ensuring strict compliance to safety and environmental friendliness and to contribute towards the development, maintenance, sustainability and productivity of the oil and gas companies in Ekpeye ethnic nation.”
According to him, the Ekpeye ethnic nation is one of the 17 indigenous groups in Rivers State with over 20 clans and sub-clans, spreading from the Ahoada West Local Government Area, to the Ahoada East Local Government Area, and part of Emuoha, Abua/Odual, and Ogba/Egbema Nndoni Local Government Areas of Rivers State.
He said Ekpeye people are critical stakeholders of the Nigerian State since petroleum oil and gas has continued to be the backbone of Nigerian economy.
He said, “As a people, we have contributed significantly to the Nigerian economy as it concerns the oil and gas sector. We are the second largest oil and gas producing ethnic nations in onshore fields and we host five oil and gas trans-national corporations please see base line data on oil and gas fields in Ekpeye land.
“For absolute peace to reign in the Niger Delta and for the PIB being considered by the National Assembly to see the light of the day again, the host families should be accorded the much recognition that we deserved.
“The term ‘families/community’ should be properly defined to include sub-families and families that make up the community.
“The outright neglect of the family unit’s posses grave danger in recent times; there are issues bordering on the rights of the families/communities whose oil wells and other valuables are found in their space of land are denied access to benefit from their God given natural resources and opportunities.
“The activities of the International Oil Companies call for an urgent intervention; to ameliorate the sufferings of the family by defining the stakes of each component units that are the owners of land, wells, flow stations and pipelines.
“The ambiguous definition as always mouthed by companies to cause division and avoidable crisis in the oil producing areas remains of great concern to the Ekpeye Oil and Gas Pipelines Host Families Association.
“We wish to draw the attention of these honourable and distinguished members to as a matter of utmost urgency call on the International Oil Companies to do the needful.
“Most of the families are negatively impacted upon by the divide and rule methods implored by the companies to make away with the common wealth of the host families by using security agencies to intimidate, humiliate, molest, harass, oppress, suppress and murder the voice of the people.”
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