21 July 2016, Abuja – Oil–producing communities in the country, under the aegis of Host Communities of Nigeria (Producing Oil and Gas), HOSCOM, Thursday, lamented the Federal Government’s neglect of the Niger Delta region, while it accused political leaders in the region of misappropriating over N10 trillion earmarked for the region over the years.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Women’s Wing Chapter in Abuja, National Chairman of HOSCOM, Mr. Mike Emuh, disclosed that most of the solutions and initiatives put forward to develop the region were frustrated and truncated by political leaders in the regions.
He said, “The 13 per cent derivation is just brouhaha; it is in the hand of politicians, who are so corrupt, who never cared for the cries of the masses. The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, is just the same thing. It is all just name. The actual masses, the president-generals of the communities, the traditional rulers of the communities, the host communities are neglected.
“The Federal Government had never passed a Bill in the history of this country, one day, in favour of the host communities. No single Act, no single law that favours the host communities. NDDC never favours the host communities. The Niger Delta Ministry has never favoured the host communities; they are all just political. The people steal the money.
“I appreciate the fact that the Federal Government has released so much to the South-South, in trillions. Over N10 trillion had been released so far to the South-South government. All are just stories; we can’t see it on ground. We have worst roads. The whole roads are bad, are dilapidated and are subject to rehabilitation. People of the South-South are suffering. The ecosystem has been destroyed; industrial pollution is everywhere.”
He, however, called on the youths in the region to shun violence and embrace dialogue in ventilating their grievances.
He said, “I will advise the youths that are agitating to listen to the voice of their parents, they should give chance to the President, because he means well for Nigeria. One year or two years is just too short to go into crisis; it is as if they are fighting APC or fighting the President.
“Now that the Federal Government has appointed Host Communities to dialogue with the children and with the government, I believe everything will come to an end.”
Also speaking, Coordinator of the newly inaugurated FCT Women’s Wing, Mrs. Tumini Akogun called on the government to do more for the region by ensuring that appropriate legislation that would significantly improve the plight of the host communities is passed into law, adding that this should be treated with a sense of urgency.
She also called on the Executive to present the much-delayed Petroleum Industry Bill to the National Assembly, while she noted that the speedy passage of the Bill would considerably improve the state of affairs in the host communities. In addition, she said,
“Also, efforts should be made by the government to fund projects in the region adequately. Our aspiration is to see to it that the zone is well developed.”
Akogun further called on agitating youths in the Niger Delta region to show restraint and exercise a greater degree of patience with the Federal Government and their leaders, noting that the wanton destruction and bombings in the region is causing huge suffering for the host communities and the country in general.