…Stages Celebration March In Warri
.. .Seeks Speedy Assent To Bill By President
The Host Communities of Nigeria, oil and gas, HOSCON, has held a thanksgiving service in celebration of the 3% provision for the host communities in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which was recently passed into law.
HOSCON also thanked the 9th National Assembly for actualizing the dream of the oil producing communities of the Niger Delta after nearly two decades of fruitless expectation.
The executive and members of the body drawn from the major ethnic nationalities led by its National Chairman, Bishop Dr. Mike Emuh including the founder of HOSCON, Chief Wellington Okirika, held a thanksgiving service in the Greater Glory Chapel Church in Warri, Delta State on Sunday July 18, 2021.
The thanksgiving service which climaxed in a celebration march along the streets of Warri, involved representatives from Isoko, Ijaw, Urhobo, Itsekiri, Ndokwa, Ika ethnic nationalities, including representatives of other nationalities from the entire Niger Delta and other parts of the country. Also present were the representatives of Pipelines Surveilance of Nigeria, PSN led by its Delta State Commandant, Mr. Stanley Itebu.
Delivering a message during the thanksgiving, Chief Okirika noted that the oil Host Communities have every reason to thank God for making it possible for the National Assembly to pass the PIB to law after many years of delay, just as he thanked all ethnic nationalities that constitute the HOSCON.
He however, charged the people of the Host Communities to continue to believe in God for His blessing, adding that the body is also believing God for the National Assembly and President Buhari to comply with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, so that the 13% Derivation Fund can be given directly to the host communities producing oil and gas for them to manage for the development of the region.
“According to Psalm 111, God will give food to those who fear [and believe] Him. If you don’t fear God then He will not give you food, He will not give you anything. So, we have to believe in our God.
“Right now, I want to thank the leadership of HOSCON. HOSCON are in the forefront of preaching, evangelizing and winning souls to God. God has answered our prayer. That is what we are seeing today – the manifestation of the approval of 3% for host communities in the PIB, for the approval of gas flare fund and for the approval of 13% derivation fund to the host communities”, Okirika said.
Addressing journalists shortly after the church thanksgiving service, the National Chairman of HOSCON, Emuh, noted that the South South geo-political zone has been responsible for generating more than 90% export revenue for the country, adding that for so many years there have not been any law that is favourable to the host communities producing oil and gas in Nigeria.
He commended the National Assembly for passing the PIB to law and granting 3% production cost fund to the host communities producing oil and gas. He added that the government would soon set up the Host Communities Trust Fund Commission for the management of the 3%.
He clarified that the 3% is not based on equity consideration, describing equity as a brouhaha, rather it is based on production cost of the oil companies, which according to him, is more beneficial to the host communities.
Emuh said HOSCON who appreciated the National Assembly, also thanked Traditional Rulers of Oil Mineral Producing Communities of Nigeria, TROMPCON, UPU, IDU, INC and others for supporting HOSCON and maintaining peace in the South South zone. The group also used the occasion to pass a vote of confidence on President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said: “The South South geopolitical zone happens to be the basket that produces over 90% of revenue into the national economy and there have not been any law that is favourable to the host communities. But as God will have it today, the 9th National Assembly has just signed the PIB into law giving us 3% and in the Bill we are going to have the Host Communities Trust Fund Commission.
“We are talking about 3% but not 3% of equity. It is a brohaha in the sense that if the federal government and IOC makes a profit of a N100 million, they will not declare it. So, if they declare only N20 million profit they will only approve only 3%. So, we are talking of 3% of cost of production to the host communities.
“3% from whatever angle is not less than N300 billion a year and we are yet to get even N1 billion a year before. And so, let us start from somewhere. We should appreciate what the National Assembly has done by giving us 3% which is subject to upward review with time.
“So, we want to celebrate the National Assembly. So, here we are saying thanks to the National Assembly, TROMPCON, UPU, IDU, INC, and others for supporting the host communities and for maintaining peace.
“The Niger Delta we are today is the most peaceful geopolitical zone out of the six geopolitical zones in terms of security. So, I want to say thank you upholding peace.
“Here we have HOSCON for unity, peace and progress. That is what we stand for. Here we are saying Niger Deltans and all peace-loving Nigerians pass a vote of confidence on President Muhammadu Buhari. He is our father. A man who gives you what belongs to you is who you love. Not the one who denies you your right.
“President Buhari has come to do HOSCON good and we are proud of him We visited him and he listened to us. We were led by HRM Diete Spiff to meet with him. And he told us he will give us what belongs to us.
“And today four items have been approved – Pipeline surveillance, gas-flaring fund, 13% derivation fund and now 3% host communities fund from PIB.”
Commenting on the fate of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Bishop Emuh condemned the delay in the inauguration of the cleared Board of the Commission, stressing that the forensic audit exercise which is being used as an excuse to delay the inauguration was wrong.
He urged President Buhari to order the inauguration of the oil Commission board for it to carry out its statutory function of developing the Niger Delta region.
“The basic and undisputable fact is that NDDC was formed out of the defunct OMPADEC. And at the time of OMPADEC there was peace and development. Also, at the beginning of NDDC there was peace and development until politicians now came to hijack it.
“So, the problem we are currently having with the NDDC is the leadership of the Niger Delta. And so, I think that if the NDDC is established with an Act as a Commission, then we should implement what is in the Act, not having an Interim management in place for so long and carrying out forensic audit without conclusion. Now, Senate has gone on vacation for about two months. In other words, the cleared board will not been sworn in until it resumes. In other words, those people who have been occupying the NDDC unlawfully will still be there. It is bad.
“And so, the Presidency should do something about it and swear in those who have been screened before. There are people who were screened before. He should swear them in. Let us follow due process.”
Also speaking at the occasion, the Delta State Commandant of the Pipelines Surveillance of Nigeria, Mr. Stanley Itebu stressed that the National Chairman of HOSCON called for a thanksgiving to God for the passage of the PIB and granting host communities 3% fund for the development of oil bearing communities.
“Today is a thanksgiving day because the National Chairman of HOSCON, the person of Prince Dr. Mike Emuh has gathered us together to come for a celebration and thanksgiving.
“We are here to thank Mr. President, thank the members of the National Assembly for passing the Petroleum Industry Bill into law and with 3% approved for the Host Communities. That is why we are here, to say thank you Baba and also to say, we are behind you. And we know that by the special grace of God, everything will be okay.
“This is the first of its kind. For about twenty years we have not heard anything about the PIB. But today, the National Assembly has passed the Bill and approved 3% for us host communities. It calls for celebration”, Itebu said.
The climax of the occasion was the celebration march by the executive and members of the HOSCON starting from Okumagba Avenue towards Cinema Site in Warri, Delta State with placards, carrying various inscription such as “HOSCON OIL AND GAS Congratulates NIGER DELTANS AND NIGERIANS FOR THE PASSAGE OF THE PIB INTO LAW”, “HOSCON CELEBRATES MR. PRESIDENT, ATTORNEY-GENERAL, MINISTRY OF PETROLEUM RESOURCES, VICE PRESIDENT AND DEPUTY SENATE PRESIDENT”, “CARRY-GO, MR. PMB AND MR. VP”, amongst others.