…asks govt to involve oil host communities for peace sake
…wants 13% derivation paid directly to communities, not Governors
By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja
A Delta State monarch from the Ijere Kingdom, His Royal Majesty, King Monday Obukowho Whiskey has lambasted those asking for the scrapping of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, saying they don’t exist in the coastal region.
The monarch who spoke on the sideline of the two days public hearing on the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB at the House of Representatives Complex in Abuja on Thursday also asked the government to stop paying the 13 per cent oil derivation to the Governors but directly to the oil-producing communities.
Citing his Ijere Kingdom as one that produces over 40,000 barrels of oil per day without any significant benefits, King Whiskey urged the government to include the oil host communities in the management of petroleum resources in their place to enjoy greater peace.
“I came to make a presentation to this Honourable House specifically to expose the challenges my kingdom is facing. Ijere is the second-largest kingdom in Uhrubo with a production capacity of over 40,000 barrels per day. That’s one of the home bases of SEPLAT petroleum limited. Ironically, for over 10 years, SEPLAT has worked in that kingdom, we do not have a single staff in that company. We lost over 1500 souls in 1998 in an induced petroleum fire disaster. Until now, there is nothing to show that we are producing oil.
“We have an abandoned PPMC cottage hospital in the kingdom. Nothing is happening and each time we talk about peace in the Niger Delta. I also come here to advocate for the inclusion of our people in the management of resources. Some persons are talking about 13 per cent and that. If the law says 13 per cent belongs to the producing Communities and you ironically give the money to the Governors, have you given the money to the host Communities. The answer is no.
“People have come here to say, scrap NDDC, do this and that. Each time you make a statement, you should be able to know the implication of what you are saying or what you stand to get. I was the first media consultant to the Senate committee on NDDC in 2000. We know the efforts we put in place to create the present NDDC. So, why come to advocate for the scrapping of NDDC? We are talking about the government giving our people adequate attention.
“We mobilized fully to say whatever we are saying here now because if you are not a critical stakeholder, we don’t want you to say anything about oil. Those who said NDDC should be scrapped, what is their stake in oil production? What is their community, Kingdom do they come from? I mentioned Ijere. Go and see what Ijere produces.
“When you come and arrogate a position to yourself to make very wild allegations, the question is where do you come from? Can you be located? So, we are saying involve the producing community in the management of petroleum resources in their place and you will have greater peace”, he said. (Vanguard)