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Utilise PIA’s provision for host communities, Rivers residents told

By Ann Godwin, Port Harcourt
05 September 2022   |   4:04 am
Chapter three of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), which provides for direct social and economic benefits to oil host communities, should be implemented immediately, Connected Development (CODE) has told residents of Rivers State.

Chapter three of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), which provides for direct social and economic benefits to oil host communities, should be implemented immediately, Connected Development (CODE) has told residents of Rivers State.

PIA 2021 was passed into law to, among others, address the age-long problem of oil-bearing communities, such as devastation caused by activities of oil companies. The Act is empowered to achieve this through the establishment of the Host Communities Development Trust (HCDT).

CODE made the call, yesterday, while sensitising oil-bearing communities in Rivers State to the existence of the Act and the need to ensure its implementation for the development of their communities.

Speaking at the event organised in partnership with OXFAM, the Programme Manager for CODE, Mr. Kingsley Agu, said it is the legal right of host communities to be part of decision-making in the implementation of PIA in their communities.

He said: “This is part of the activities of Power of Voices Partnership of all PIA project, implemented by CODE with support from OXFARM Nigeria. The essence of the event is to take oil host communities through the PIA 2021 that was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2021.

“We are taking them through the entire section of the PIA as an overview, dwell more on the host community development. The PIA has five chapters and chapter three focuses on issues about host communities, what should be done for them.

“Our focus is the fact that host communities need to be given more powers, especially in the implementation of Host Community Development Trust.

Because as it is right now, the powers given to the oil companies needs to be reduced a bit to enable the host communities participate and have some level of decision making in the implementation of the PIA in their respective communities.”

State support officer for CODE, Charles Mffort, stressed the need for affected communities “to understand that what the government has put together is favourable to them since they are oil-producing communities so that their communities can develop very fast better than they are now.”

He said participants at the enlightenment programme were selected from communities in 10 councils in the state.