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Niger Delta ethnic groups condemns PIB, says all IOCs must relocate headquarters to Region

Some major ethnic nationalities in the Niger Delta region met on Sunday at the Bayelsa State capital, Yenagoa, on “the current situation in the country,” restating their “unanimity in condemning the obnoxious Petroleum Industry Bill that has provided 3% or 5% funds for host communities as passed by both Houses of the National Assembly.”

A communique released at the meeting demanded that “legislators of the Niger Delta extraction” in the National Assembly to “remove 30% for exploration of Oil and Gas in frontier regions from the Bill.”

The communique was signed by Prof. Benjamin Okaba (President General Ijaw National Congress), Prof. Chris Akpotu (President General Isoko Development Union), Dr. Captain Anthony Onaharigho (V.P Urhobo Progressive Union), Crown Prince D. Ogbaudu (V.P IDU), General Mike Ndubisi (Rtd) (President General Ndokwa Nation), Chief Edward Ekpoko (Chairman Itsekiri Nation), Sir. A.S Mene (Secretary Itsekiri Nation).

The meeting also demanded “that the least acceptable provision of funds for host communities should be 10%. We also demand a clear definition of what could be termed as HOST COMMUNITIES and IMPACTED COMMUNITIES.”

The meeting was convened by Chairman and Secretary of the above named body, Prof. Benjamin Okaba (President General, Ijaw National Congress) and Prof. Chris Akpotu (President General, Isoko Development Union).

The communique, released “after exhaustive deliberations on the state of the nation resolved as follows;

“That we align ourselves with the position of the Southern Governors on open grazing. We urged all Southern Governors to keep fate with their resolutions on ban on open grazing. We state that grazing routes do not exist in the Niger Delta Region and any attempt to open any, will be resisted through every legitimate and customary means. Our people should henceforth desist from leasing land to herders for the purpose of open grazing, they should encourage “cattle ranching” which is modern way to pastoral agriculture.

“We restate our unanimity in condemning the obnoxious Petroleum Industry Bill that has provided 3% or 5% funds for host communities as passed by both Houses of the National Assembly. We demand that the least acceptable provision of funds for host communities should be 10%. We also demand a clear definition of what could be termed as HOST COMMUNITIES and IMPACTED COMMUNITIES. We call on the legislators of the Niger Delta extraction to remove 30% for exploration of Oil and Gas in frontier regions from the Bill. We state that the early explorers for Oil and Gas in our region picked their Bills as a way of investment on exploration in our region. Therefore, the provision of 30% of profit for the same purpose is uncalled-for. We call on all our representatives at every level to rise up and resist the passage of the bill and stand with our people in the demand for equity and fair play in handling matters on Oil and Gas exploration and exploitation in the Niger Delta region.

“To tackle the issue of insecurity in the Niger Delta, we urge the Federal Government to prevail on all International Oil Companies (IOCs) to relocate their headquarters to Niger Delta Region. Unemployment is one of the major causes of insecurity in the Niger Delta. We urge our youths to take advantage opportunities provided by various organizations, agencies, State and Federal Government to work for living. Joblessness should not be an excuse to engage in crime and criminality, because there is dignity in labour.

“We encourage our youths to desist from kidnapping, ritual killings and engage in positive productive ventures. We further encourage them to embrace attitudinal change that promote entrepreneurship, skills acquisition and other worthy endevour that promotes dignity in labour. We implore the security agencies and community leadership to support efforts at policing our communities and discourage involvement in kidnapping and other associated social vices.”

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