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Oil communities talk tough on 10% equity, warn of resumed hostilities

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Oil Pipelines Photo: Getty Images

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Seek review of petroleum bill

The Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM) has advised the Federal Government against killing the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), insisting that it would not settle for anything less than 10 per cent equity.

Warning that whatever thing that goes contrary to this position might prompt resumption of hostilities in the creeks of the Niger Delta, HOSTCOM’s National President, High Chief Benjamin Style Tamanarebi, noted that “every indication points to the fact that the (Federal) Government is not interested in the passage of the bill because of lack of sincerity”.

He said the statement was an executive summary after the town hall meetings between the National Assembly Joint Committee on PIB and state governments with concerned stakeholders and host communities from March 1 to 5 this year.

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Tamanarebi explained that the erstwhile freedom fighters have been calm because of the high expectation that HOSTCOM would secure the 10 per cent equity to, at least, “atone for the monumental degradation on their environment.”

He warned that “it is in the best interest of all stakeholders that the Federal Government stops treating Niger Delta’s interest with kid gloves, as it might boomerang.”

In the executive summary signed by the national president and chairmen of the nine state chapters of the association, the stakeholders listed the grey areas in the proposed piece of legislation that should either be expunged or amended.

They, therefore, reiterated their position to stand by the on-shore host communities so defined as host and directly impacted communities 50 kilometres radius of project site that included pipelines.

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The host communities called for a mechanism to be raised for obtaining of approvals by the minister in matters that affect Federation Account to include the producing states and host communities in Chapter 1, Part 1 of the document, which deals with vesting of petroleum and ownership as major stakeholders.

Among other contentious provisions, especially Part III, Sections 3,4 and 5 talking about rents on petroleum licences, mining leases and royalties, the indigenes demanded that the governing board should be expanded to accommodate all the oil-producing states and HOSTCOM representatives.

On Section 47, which deals with funding of the Authority, they canvassed deletion of the one per cent since the National Assembly appropriates money to the establishment on a first line charge in addition to four other sources of income.

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