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Bayelsa Communities Call For Return Of Development Fund In New PIB
Community members in oil-rich Bayelsa State have urged the government to reintroduce the Host Community Fund, which is reportedly absent in the new Petroleum Industry Governance Bill before its passage into law.
They made their position known at an event put together by Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, ERA/FoEN to sensitise the people on the provisions of the bill
The event, Environmental Parliament, which held in Ikarama and had over 80 participants from different communities and groups, including women and youth groups, saw the people united in their call for the development fund to be included in the bill.
The initial bill, Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, had proposed 10 percent as Host Community Development Fund but this was removed in the new bill before the National Assembly.
The participants commended ERA/FoEN for its interest in the rights of oil communities and carrying them along.
A participant, Raphael Warder expressed sadness that communities affected by oil exploration for long were left out in the new bill, calling for a more inclusive and holistic approach.
A traditional ruler, Ediwini Lambert, blamed the leadership of the communities for not judiciously applying the extra funds, in form of derivations, which have accrued to the region.
The head of operations, ERA/FoEN, Alagoa Morris, said the focus of the organisation in putting together the event was to get feedback from host communities as part of the advocacy on the bill.
A conflict resolution expert, Tari Dadiowei, pointed out that the new bill is more favourable to multinational oil companies and their quest to make profit.