PIB: Anxiety in N’Delta over alleged removal of host community fund
There are quiet agitations in the Niger Delta region over the alleged removal of host community fund from the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by the National Assembly.
The Guardian gathered that some ex-militants and their allies in the civil society groups have started meeting over the next line of action by the region over the alleged removal of the fund from the House of Representatives version of the bill.
While declining to confirm the level of contacts and commencement of the meetings among Niger Delta interest groups, the National Coordinator of Host Communities Network of Nigeria, Barbs Pawuru, decried the move to remove the host community fund from the bill.
He told The Guardian that the absence of the fund in the overall package of benefits that go to host communities for over 60 years Nigeria has been extracting crude oil from the region has led to the loss of over $150 trillion.
He said: “The petroleum industry stands on a tripod that includes regulator (government), the operators (oil corporations) and the burden bearers (host communities). The burdens that host communities bear are social, economic, health and ecological/ environmental costs. In the Nigerian petroleum industry, all these costs are externalised on the host communities without being accounted for by the regulator (Federal Government) and operators (oil corporations).
“An expert analysis and computation of all the externalised costs on the host communities show that the real cost of petroleum extraction which is externalised on the host communities runs into over $150 trillion for the over six decades of petroleum extraction in Nigeria.”
He said the host communities’ fund as envisaged in the draft version of the PIB that was submitted to the National Assembly was designed to assuage the burden on the communities.