By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah,
The Host Communities of Nigeria (HOSCON) has lauded the Senior Special Assistant to the President on the Niger Delta, Senator Ita Enang, for joining in the call for the appropriate channeling of the 13% Derivation Fund.
The HOSCON, in a statement issued by its National Director of Media and Publicity, Okakuro Monday Whiskey, noted that the recent advocacy by Senator Enang, during a webinar, calling for the direct channeling of the 13% Derivation Fund to the oil and gas bearing and impacted communities, was the struggle it had championed for years.
Enang, while speaking at a webinar series on Post-COVID-19 Petroleum Agenda for Nigerians, themed ‘Resolving the Host Communities’ Questions’, had charged the oil producing communities to unite strongly to fight for their land as the current degradation and other challenges may not be addressed if oil ceases to be the economic pillar of Nigeria.
He cited the case of Enugu and other states in the South East that provided coal that was used in powering the locomotive trains but were abandoned to suffer ecological crisis as soon energy demand shifted from coal to crude oil.
However, Whiskey said the call by Enang was apt and represented the opinion and demand by all oil and gas host communities, under the aegis of HOSCON, charging President Muhmmadu Buhari to make the counsel by his aide a policy decision.
“Senator Ita Enang’s call recently has resonated and agreed with the common demand of the oppressed and neglected oil producing and impacted communities in the Niger Delta. We have seen what has happened to Oloibiri in the present day Bayelsa State, where the first commercial quantity crude oil was drilled, we see what is happening to Ogoni and this should not be the fate of all the communities and areas where oil has been drilled in the Niger Delta.
“This admonition by Senator Enang is popular with our people, as has for long been championed by the HOSCON; it is just the right and constitutional thing to do. Paying the 13% Derivation Fund to the state government’s of the region is not just robbery of the people who bear the brunts of oil and gas exploration and exploitation activities, but also an aberration against nature and social justice.
“We use this medium to, once again, appeal to Mr President, Muhammadu Buhari, to correct this age-long injustice and violation of a provision of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, and stop the payment of the 13% Derivation Fund to state governors, order to direct payment to the communities and avert the impending horror of irreversible environmental degradation in the region that has been very generous to this nation over the years”, the statement said.