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PIND begins training of CSOs on PIA’s implementation

By Silver Nwokoro
09 April 2023   |   4:26 am
The Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) in collaboration with the Ford Foundation has commenced training of Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) in the Niger Delta.

PIND Executive Director Tunji Idowu

The Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) in collaboration with the Ford Foundation has commenced training of Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on the implementation  of the Petroleum Industry  Act  (PIA) in the Niger Delta

The workshop, held in Warri, Delta State, is coming barely two years after the enactment of the Act. Representatives of the host communities were drawn from five epicentre states of oil and gas extractive activities in the Niger Delta region.

The participants at the capacity building initiative anchored on restructuring the management of the host communities and regulating the midstream and downstream operations, among others, were drawn from Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers and Ondo states.

The Executive Director of PIND, Tunji Idowu, represented by the Advocacy Manager, Chuks Ofulue, who spoke at the opening of the three-day workshop, said that the workshop is to create awareness and understanding of the requirements of the PIA and ensure that communities recieve value from Host Communities Development Trusts (HCDTs).

He said: “We want to build the capacity of the community people by getting the people that are closer to them, which are the NGOs and CSOs to help them build their own capacity so that they can understand what to expect from these HCDTs that will be established by the oil companies so that they can have a say in what development comes to their state.”

He said “In restructuring the management of the host communities, Chapter 3 of the PIA mandates the creation of the HCDT to improve the quality of life of the host communities’ population and improve accountability in the management of the HCDT Fund.”

Idowu called for accountability from the various Host Communities Development Trusts. He insisted that one of the gains expected from the PIA “is sustainable community development, manifested by the requirement for Participatory Needs Assessment (PNA) and Community Development Plans (CDP) to deliver sustainable growth”.

He spoke further, “It will enable members of the three components of the Trust to align their functions with the interests of the various community stakeholders. “So, it is left for host communities to select people with integrity who will not divert their funds or use such for personal investments but for the benefit of the community.

“This is already ongoing between the oil companies and host communities as the accruing fund is now being put in the Host Communities Development Trust, to be managed by accredited representatives of the host communities themselves. So, the era of the oil companies short-changing host communities is gone.

“This forum is preparing the host communities for the benefits of the PIA as the communities are getting the capacity, the skills to be able to manage the funds for their development.

“This is the time for host communities to take their destinies into their own hands. Now that the funds are in their hands, the communities should keep monitoring eyes on their representatives in the Trust to ensure accountability.”

One of the participants, the National Coordinator, Centre for Peace & Environmental Justice (CEPEJ), Ambassador Sheriff Mulade, said  that the training will help them to educate the host communities on how to manage the fund.

“We have great expectations in the PIA because of the effects of our communities. Chapter 3 of the PIA has to do with rural communities and most of the communities are not aware of the process leading to the formation the HCDT). So, what we have come to do in the workshop organize by PIND is to deepen our understanding as CSOs and CBOs on the process so that we can help to educate and enlighten the host communities,” he said.

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