Governors of Nigeria’s South-South region on Tuesday have demanded an upward review from 2.5 per cent to 10 per cent of oil revenue payments to host oil communities.
Chairman of the South-South Governors Forum and Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa said the 2.5 per cent stipulated in the Petroleum Industry Bill, now before the National Assembly for the host communities, was inadequate.
“We are of the view that while we welcome the Host Community Trust Fund, we do believe that 2.5 per cent that is appropriated in that bill for the purpose of host community fund is inadequate,” Okowa said at the end of the South-South Governors’ meeting in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
“We have discussed with our people and collectively as leaders of the people in our various states and as leaders standing in on behalf of our people, we urge the National Assembly to increase the provision in the host community fund from 2.5 per cent to 10 per cent.
“This is in the best interest of our communities and the nation,” Okowa said.
Mr Okowa maintained that the host communities would be watchdogs of oil facilities on behalf of the Federal, State Governments and oil companies if they are satisfied with the provision of the trust fund.
“A peaceful environment in the various oil communities would enable us have greater and seamless production, without any form of disruption going into the future.
“The Governors have also urged President Muhammadu Buhari that in the absence of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), funds for the commission, beyond the payment of salaries, should be put in an escrow account until he constitutes the board,” Mr Okowa said.
“We do know that there is a forensic audit taking place and for that reason, the board has not been constituted.
By Abel Ejikeme