A Niger Delta advocacy group under the aegis of Forum of Ethnic Nationalities of the Niger Delta (FENND), has said that the vexatious 3 percent allocation to the host communities from the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) is a recipe for renewed hostilities in the volatile region.
In a communiqué issued after a summit by various ethnic nationalities in the region, FENND said the PIA as presently constituted negates the demands of the Niger Delta, saying it deepens distrust, creates suspicion and is a recipe for another round of hostilities in the region.
The communiqué signed by representatives of Isoko, Ijaw, Itsekiri, Ikwerre, Ndokwa, Ibibio, KAGOTE, FENND frowned at the content, insisting that the entire act is unacceptable to the region and especially the host communities.
The communiqué said the PIA failed to recognise the injustice of the past, the pollution and squalor of the present, it failed to address the terrain problem in the region and the future of the Niger Delta people.
It says the PIA is punitive and has no probision to ameliorate the sufferings of the coastal communities. It added that the act serves mainly the commercial interest of the elites without a human face for the downtrodden people in the poorest communities of the impoverished region.
The communiqué signed by Chief Dan Odhomo for Isoko nation, Dr. Chris Akani for Ikwerre Cultural Organisation, Comrade Richard Inoyo for Ibibio nation, Chief Edward Ekpoko, Itsekiri Leaders of Thought, Chief Dominic Saatah for KAGOTE, also noted that the PIA failed to address environmental injustice and health hazards occasioned by oil and gas exploration over the years.
FENND, which described the PIA as a legal theft, said: “We are disappointed in the process. Not one of the suggestions of the host communities was accepted. The PIA completely failed to address the criticism raised by the Niger Delta people. Throwing 3 percent at us is insulting. We are not begging for palliatives.”
FENND also raised the challenge of the Water Resources control bill which is presently in the House of Representatives. The group says the bill as presented attempts to place control of all water resources in the hands of the federal government.
FENND said the bill is unnecessary and unjustifiable, noting that the provision in the bill contravenes the basic tenets of federalism and the land use act. It described the bill as another form of RUGA in disguise. It said water resources is best adninistered by agencies of state.
FENND noted thus: “Water Resources control bill in the House of representatives is Draconian, anti-people, enslaving and should be rejected. It should be replaced with a bill that respects the federal system.”
The Niger Delta group which frowned at the poor response of the federal government to issues of insecurity, noted that the security challenges in the nation are the offspring of the laws, policies, actions and inactions of the Nigerian state.
It said the Nigerian state is not doing enough to de-escalate the insecurity in Nigeria, adding the Nigerian authorities is not responsive to the plight of the people as there is impunity in the exercise of government powers.