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Reps panel laments plight of oil-bearing communities

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Niger Delta<br />

Lawmakers set up a committee on insecurity

House of Representatives Committee on Host Communities has expressed concern over alleged acts of injustice meted out to oil-bearing communities in the country, particularly in the Niger Delta.

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Chairman of the committee, Dumnamene Dekor, at its inaugural meeting, said the unfortunate situation has led to untold poverty and deprivation in the oil-bearing communities.

“Nothing to show for their God-given wealth. Their social life has been neglected. How can people so endowed have little or nothing to show for it,” he lamented.

The lawmaker, who thanked the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, for creating the committee, a first in the history of the National Assembly, urged his colleagues to come up with ideas that would enhance the wellbeing of Nigerians and other residents of the oil communities in the Niger Delta.

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Dekor argued that the practice where the Federal Government makes deductions from the 13 per cent derivation is unfortunate and adds to the neglect suffered by oil-bearing communities.

“The inability of the government to protect host communities is a violation of their rights. Such injustice had led to their water being contaminated and ejection from their ancestral homes as well as absolute denial of their means of livelihood.

“Part of what the committee was set up to achieve is to enhance peaceful coexistence between oil companies and the host communities,” Dekor said, adding that “whatever that should accrue to them should not be denied.”

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“The 13 per cent derivation has been plagued with many issues such as lack of consultation, treacherous behaviour of some oil companies holding unto expired Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among others,” he noted

MEANWHILE, the House has set up a 30- man committee to deliberate on measures that would tame the rising level of insecurity in the country.

Speaker Gbajabiamila, who announced this during plenary, yesterday, said the decision was taken during the executive session.

The committee is to report back in two to three weeks.

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