The Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSCON), has called on the federal government to release the N98 billion gas flare penalty money owed oil producing communities.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday, Mike Emuh,National Chairman, HOSCON, said releasing of the money would help to sustain existing peace in the region.
“It is an international law that a 3.5 dollar fine should be paid by oil companies for every 1,000 standard cubic feet of gas flared.
“The law requires the fund to be paid to the host communities for environmental degradation, pollution and plundering of their communities as a result of gas flaring.
“Instead, the oil companies pay the fine to the Department of Petroleum Resources.
“On receipt of the money, the DPR pay the money to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, who later transfer the money to the Federation Account. This is an aberration.” He added
Emuh also called on the Niger Delta Avengers to suspend the planned hostilities and destruction of oil and gas assets in the region in the interest of peace and development.
He urged the group to exercise patience with the current administration and await the outcome of a planned meeting between the federal government and stakeholders in the region.
He said the meeting, which had been scheduled around the middle of the month, was a continuation of the stakeholders’ engagement of the government which saw Vice President Yemi Osinbajo visit all the oil-producing states.
He said, “We appeal to the Niger Delta Avengers not to resume hostilities. With the ceasefire, for 11 months, there was peace in the Niger Delta region.
“HOSCON, which is the parent of these youths, appeal to them to be patient with the government.
After the meeting, we are hopeful that something good would come out of it and their concerns would be addressed.
He lamented the continued payment of the 13 per cent derivation fund to state governors, who he accused of mismanaging over N10 trillion paid to oil-producing states over the last 16 years.
Emuh said the Federal Government should ensure that the 13 per cent Derivation Fund was paid directly to oil producing communities and not to state governors, especially as the governors might use the fund to prosecute the forthcoming elections.
He appealed to the Federal Government to prevail upon the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, to expedite the release of their modular refineries licenses.
He also called on the government to impress on the relevant government agencies, the need for HOSCON and its foreign financiers to be granted waivers in the importation of components for the modular refineries.
He called on the present governors of the oil-producing states to join hands with the Federal Government in its campaign against corruption, and also partner with HOSCON to ensure the judicious utilisation of the 13 per cent Derivation Fund for the development of the region.
He noted 10 per cent equity should be implemented, stating that the passage of the PIB would help this initiative to come to fruition.