The Accountability in Extractive Sector Cluster has conducted a multi-stakeholder dialogue to inform and review progress in the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) as it relates to host communities in Delta state.
The dialogue was conducted within the framework of the Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) project being implemented by Palladium with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Besides informing and reviewing progress in the implementation of the PIA, it is also aimed at harvesting an agenda to advance engagements with Settlors (Oil companies) and relevant state actors towards expediting the establishment of their respective Host Community Development Trust (HCDT) Funds to the benefit of their communities.
The engagement drew participation from the Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Corporate Affairs Commission, National Orientation Agency and Delta state Ministry of Environment; traditional councils, women leaders and youth leaders of oil-host communities and the media.
According to the CISLAC Executive Director, Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani), the community engagement is aimed at stepping down knowledge with guidance from relevance state actors on the issued regulations and template and procedural guidelines for the communities. He added that it is also aimed at harvesting hostcom expectations and views on what has been done and is to be done under the PIA.
He said the engagement was also to identify opportunities to establish or facilitate the establishment of community platforms to conduct timely reviews of relevant frameworks and processes when available
In an interview with journalists shortly after the engagement processes, Munachi Ugochukwu, programme officer for CISLAC’s Tax Justice, Environment and Conservation of nature program, said the programme is being implemented in mostly oil producing states of Delta, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Imo state, Rivers and Abuja, the federal capital territory.
He said the programme is being delivered through an anchor cluster model with about 10 organisations from the participating states and Abuja the federal capital territory. He listed Delta, Imo, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Abuja as states where the prograsmme is being implemented in Nigeria.
He told journalists that the project is about driving transparency and accountability in extractive sector to ensure that the benefits of sector resources trickle down both to the oil host communities and Nigerians.
He said the programme is to engage host communities that can drive the implementation process for the establishment of the host community development trust fund. He said about 5 host communities and three representatives each were invited. One traditional ruler, one women representative and a youth leader were part of the persons drawn for the engagement process.
He listed the communities to include Aniocha/Oshimili, Owa Aladima, Ndokwa nation, Ekakpamre, Orogun. In Ughelli North local government area of Delta state. He added that the objective is step down the content regulation, thereby making the host communities get familiar with the content, the proceduaral and template guidelines for the establishment of the host communities trust fund.
He said: “We hope that after this they will go down to their communities and step down what they have learnt. We also brought parties from the supply side. The CAC is instrumental to the process and they are offering support where necessary.
“CAC is also going to provide its own guidelines to help the incorporation process and has committed to carrying community representatives along in their engagements with settlors. We trust them to put modalities in place for the establishment of the trust fund.”
The NOA has also expressed it’s commitment through the Delta state Director, to domicile the sustainability of awareness creation on the PIA and host community regulations within the Agency through it’s structures across 25 communities in the state.
The Accountability in Extractive Sector (AES) cluster anchored by CISLAC comprises Better Community Life Initiative (BECOLIN) in Imo state; Community Conciliation and Development Initiative (CCADI) in Port-Harcourt, Rivers state; Connected Advocacy for Empowerment & Youth Development Initiative (Connected Advocacy) in Edo state and Good Governance Team (GGT) Nigeria in Abuja-FCT.
The others include Institutional and Sustainable Development Foundation (ISDF) in Abuja-FCT; International Centre for Women Empowerment and Child Development (ICWECD) in Delta state; Policy Alert in Akwa-Ibom state; Social Development Integrated Center (Social Action) in Abuja-FCT/Rivers state; Speak Out Africa Initiative in Abuja-FCT and Support for Training and Entrepreneurship Program (STEP) in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom state.